How to Write Great Emails In English! (Part I)

Email is becoming a more and more important way of communicating for business interactions.  At Spoken, we’ve completed deals using email exclusively!  Because of that, it’s  important to use best practices in order to be efficient and respectful of others' time--- And, to stand-out as a true professional go-getter!

 Below is the first of three tips that Techstars, one of the world’s biggest and most respected start-up accelerators (and one which Spoken graduated from!), recommends that all of their companies use for better email use! (For another blog on this topic, see here.):

Key Vocab:
Exclusively - only
Best practices - the best way of doing something
efficient - using time and money well to gain results
to be respectful of - to keep something in mind
to stand out - to be easily recognized as valuable
go-getter - someone who accomplishes goals with energy

 Part I: How to Write a 'Forwardable Email' in English

Networking is one of the most important aspects of advancing professionally and getting results in business.  Oftentimes, we need to rely on our network to put us in touch with the right person at the right time, whether it be trying to contact a prospective client, employer, or strategic partner.  

Forwardable emails are a great tool for getting introductions to your contacts' contacts.  Basically, the idea is that you can write a note for one of your contacts to send that to someone they know who you are looking to get in touch with.  But, because introductions are time-consuming, it’s important to draft forwardable emails that clear, concise, and explicit.

Key Vocab:
forwardable email - an email that can be passed on by a contact to another person
to advance - to move forward or higher or closer to a goal
networking- meeting new people for business purposes
prospective - potential or likely  or expected to be in the future
to get in-touch with to connect to someone
time-consuming- taking too much time!
to draft - to prepare a version of a text
concise - short and to the point
explicit - very clear

Sample Forwardable Email

Below, let’s break down a good example of a proper forwardable email.  In this role-play, I will play myself as CEO of Spoken and I will be reaching out to a contact of mine, John, about an introduction to a prospective investor, David Smyth:


Key Vocab
role-play
 - a fictional situation
to reach out - to try to contact someone
to break down - to examine something piece by piece

A. The Subject

The Subject of a proper Forwardable email has a couple key components to it: First, it is very clear why I am sending it- in this case, I would like an introduction to David Smyth.  Additionally, it’s important to include the name of you or your company- this will make it stand-out in the recipients' inboxes and easier to search for and  find later too

Introduction to David Smyth for Spoken

Key Vocab:
Key components - important pieces
stand out- to be easy to see or spot
recipient - the peson receiving something

B.  Note to the "Introducer"

Assuming John has previously agreed to make the introduction to David for you, this first line is just restating the purpose of the email to both John and David.

John, I really appreciate your willingness to forward my note to David Smyth!

Key Vocab:
To restate - to say or remind people of something again
Willingess- to be agreeable to do something

C. Background Info:

Here, you should, succinctly, provide David all the relevant information he needs to know about you or your company.

David, my name is Henry Blue and I’m the CEO of Spoken, an educational technology start-up that has created an innovative new way to learn English through messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp and Telegram.

Key Vocab:
Innovative - A new and creative way of doing something
succintly - Briefly and clearly expressed
relevant- of interest or of importance

D. The Hook

It’s good to follow up the background information with a ‘hook’ to catch John's attention so that he is more likely to reply to you.  A hook may be validating stat or piece of information (e.g. reputable client of yours etc) that would matter to the person you are trying to connect with.

We think out method is the most convenient, affordable, and effective way to learn English, and we have been growing very quickly- over 80% per month for the last 6 months!

Key Vocab:
follow up - To come after something
hook - Something that catches people's attention
to validate - to support or provide evidience for worthiness
reputable -  having a good reputation; well known
to matter - to be important to or of interest to

E. The Personal Touch 

It can also be very effective to add a personal touch, which will demonstrate to David that you've done your homework and are serious about your request.

I wanted to reach out because I saw you invested In an education technology start-up, Mathlete, as well as in an international development company, Globalix. We are currently raising our seed round and I thought we may be a good fit for you given your investment interests.

Key Vocab:
effective - good at accomplishing the goal
personal touch - something that shows familiarity or uniqueness to a person
a good fit- something that goes well teogther with something else
to demonstrate- to show
a start-up - a early/new company
seed round - an investment amount for an early company
to do your homework - to study details/facts important to the situation


E. The Ask

This, of course, is where you add your call to action for David.  The ask should be crystal clear and should allow him to reply to John with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

Would you like me to send you our pitch deck?

Key Vocab:
call to action -  signal that someone should do something
crystal clear- very easy to understand

And, there you have it!  A template for a great forwardable email so you can leverage your network to connect with others to help you in your career or business!  Look out for Parts II and Parts III of "Three Email Pro Tips to Advance Your Career" soon!