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Tips For Writing Effective Emails

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Email is the most popular form of written business communication. It is essential that it should be well written with a professional touch.

Writing Formal Mails

1.Begin with a greeting

Always begin your email with a greeting, such as “Dear Henry”. If your relationship with the reader is formal, use their family name (e.g. “Dear Mrs. Wright”). If the relationship is more casual, you can simply say, “Hi Name”. If you are not sure about the recipient’s identity, you can write Dear Sir/ Ma’am.

2.Subject line:

The mail should have a subject line summarizing briefly and evidently the contents of the message. It should state the purpose or objective of writing the mail. Use the subject line to grab reader’s attention.

3.Use simplified language

Do not clutter the email with too many technical terms. The mail should not have long sentences and complex structures. Keep your message short and clear. Try and follow the KISS technique (Keep it Short and Simple)

4.The recipient should be kept in the mind while writing emails

The tone of the email plays an important role. Usually it is observed that upward communication has an element of humility. On the contrary, the downward communication is laced with arrogance. It is recommended to keep the tone neutral while writing the emails.

5.Use Passive Voice

While writing emails, it is recommended to use Passive Voice. Using passive voice makes the language subtle and less direct.

6.Ascertain following the rules of Punctuation, basic grammar and spellings.

In this era of extensive texting, the basic principles of grammar have lost their sheen. People have become oblivious to punctuation and spellings. Since emails are formal communication, we ought to follow the punctuation rules meticulously. Do not type the entire mail in the Upper or lower case.

7.Try to use positive words

The writer should use positive words as it reflects on his / her attitude towards life.

8.Add your closing remarks

Before you end your email, it’s polite to thank your reader and add some polite closing remarks. You might start with “Thank you for your patience and cooperation” or “Thank you for your consideration” and then follow up with, “If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to let me know” and “I look forward to hearing from you”.

9.End with a closing

The last step is to include an appropriate closing with your name. “Best regards”, “Sincerely”, and “Thank you” are all professional. Avoid closings such as “Best wishes” or “Cheers” unless you are good friends with the reader.

10.Proof read the mail

It is recommended to proof read and edit the mail before pressing the send button.

 

Format of a Formal Email

1. Background

The default white background should be used for all emails. Colored backgrounds or scroll designs are deemed unprofessional and distracting.

2. Font

Preferred fonts are Times New Roman or Arial, font size-12.

3. Font Color

Font should be navy blue or black only.

4. Contact Details

Official contact information like name, designation, email id, contact number, company logo, and address of correspondence should be mentioned in the signature area. Personal statements are best avoided.

5. First Name and Surname

They should be mentioned in the same font as used in the body of the email, only two font sizes larger. Cursive fonts are not recommended.

6. Signature

The following information should be supplied in the same font and size as the body of the email.

  • Designation
  • Company Name & Address
  • Contact Number

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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The Art of Effective Communication

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“Communication – the human connection, is the key to personal and career success.”….Paul J. Meyer

Effective Communication

Communication is considered to be effective if the audience reaches the goal intuitively, effortlessly. In simpler terms, it means that when they are absorbing your communication, they don’t have to think about the method being used but think only about the message. On the larger canvas, it seems like a Herculean task. Delving into the intricacies of communication, the key is perception of situation.

When to make sure you communicate effectively?

Most of the communication we do in our everyday lives is quite successful. We know how to modify our behaviour and vary our approach if we start to see we aren’t getting our messages through. It may not be efficient to plan and polish all our daily communication, however, the need of effective communication is the most while dealing with business and professional relationships.

Every time we want to communicate meaningfully, consider the two important elements: the audience and the goal. One should clearly define both within the context of communication. The reason is that different audiences require different approaches in order to get them to the desired goals. If one manages to bring the audience to the desired goal, it can be inferred that the communication was successful and effective.

Effective Communication Skills

1.Be an Enthusiastic and Good listener

Although people think that they are listening when the other person is talking, the time, actually is being utilized in planning what to reply.

Therefore, an extra effort is required to listen to what the other person says and then come up with the desired response. This is an attribute of a good and keen listener.

2. Understanding Others’ Point of View

In most of the communication, we desire ourselves to be heard and understood.  If an effort is sincerely put to see through the other party’s point of view, ours can also be explained in a lucid and relevant manner.

3.Use Mirror and Match technique

Adapt to their body language and feelings. Pay special attention to their nonverbal communication. Observe the body language and posture, inflection and choice of words. Now, customize your words, body language, and voice tone to match what has been observed.

4.Use the right lexical resources

Use words like “we, us, we’re, our, and ourselves” to instantly build a bond. These words foster a common goal or concern.

5. Compromise if necessary

With a trait to win arguments, we aim to win. Communication is not about winning, it’s about getting things done.

6. Take Time-Out if Necessary

Sometimes, we need to take a break in the middle of the discussion. If the communication is intensive, ineffective communication pattern can surface. On noticing such patterns, take a break and then continue constructively.

Become a skilled communicator

If we take the time to work on our communication skills by focusing on some of the points mentioned above, we can definitely improve our ability to connect with people from all walks of life, at work and in social circles. Choose the techniques that fit best with our personality and our motives, when we interact with people.

You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” ~Lee Iacocca

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

 

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Saying the Dreadful “NO” Effectively

EnglishMate: How to say NO effectively

 

It seems to be a cumbersome task to say no to any person. Most of us face trouble while saying “No”, especially to our seniors. There may be cultural, gender, social, religious, or institutional pressure to conform and please. Often there’s a fear of rejection, a desire to avoid confrontation, or guilt over hurting others’ feelings. However, it’s important to say “no” when necessary, in order to protect our boundaries and maintain one’s own priorities. Saying ‘no’ may sound rude, like you’re rejecting the person. There’s a negative connotation to it or they may even feel they won’t be liked or will be perceived as uncaring and unhelpful. As a result, people usually go the path of least potential conflict and comply with others. If people do say ‘no’, they usually do it in ineffective ways that come with an excuse. To be effective in saying ‘no’, the first step in learning the dynamics involved in it.

1. Say It

Don’t beat around the bush or offer weak excuses or hem and haw. Don’t delay or stall either. Provide a brief explanation .The less said the better- This is the best possible way.

2. Be Assertive and Courteous

You might say, “I’m sorry I can’t right now but will let you know when and if I can.” This approach is polite, and puts you in a position of power by changing the dynamic. You’re taking charge, telling people you’ll let them know when and if you can.

3. Understanding Tactics

Many people and organizations use manipulation techniques, do not get intimidated by their manipulative ways. Be prudent in understanding people’s tactics and not to give into social pressure.

4. Set Boundaries

We need to evaluate our relationships and understand our role within the relationship dynamics. After understanding the concept of relationship dynamics, we usually acquire a position of authority and confidently say “No”.

5. Be Selfish

Put your needs first. If you prioritize that person’s needs over yours, you’ll find your productivity will suffer and resentment will mount. An unhappy you would turn unproductive and cranky.

 

Simple “no” scripts that you can tweak into your bit of conversation

1. “Let me think about it.”

2. “The idea sounds great! It’s just that … “

3. “I can’t today. How about [insert new schedule]?”

4. “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”

5. I ‘m going to say no for now. I would let you if there is a change….

6. I ‘m not able to commit to that right now…..

One should not hold back from saying ‘no’ as we have to be true to ourselves, our convictions, and our priorities. So saying ‘no’ is perfectly fine…..

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter

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Preparing for Job Interview / Campus Placement

Preparing for job interview

“How do you stand out from the competition? Well, the answer is simple –Have something that others don’t”

 

Getting through a job interview or campus placement is an uphill task. It requires preparation and practice to outshine other candidates. These tips below will ease your process of preparing for job interviews / campus placement.

 

1. Go Back to The Scratch

A lot of candidates tend to ignore this, but the most important thing in your selection process is going to be your knowledge of topics – that you’ve studied over the last 2-3 years. All your efforts will unfortunately end up in smoke if you lack the basic knowledge of the subjects.

 

2. Aptitude Test

This is where the first elimination will begin – the aptitude test. Lots of students fear the aptitude test. Don’t worry because it’s a piece of cake to crack an aptitude test-  all it takes is practice!  Just keep practicing and increase your chances of moving on to the next step.

 

3. Written & Spoken English

Like it or not, but the Indian job markets demand people who can speak and write correct English. Unfortunately – very few people pay attention to their communication skills. If you think you need to sharpen your English speaking/writing skills; then NOW is the time to do it. It’s going to help you in your entire career. The bitter truth is that a lot of people get rejected because they can’t communicate or express themselves.

 

4. Interview (HR)

If you think that clearing aptitude and technical rounds ensures that you’re selected, then wait a minute – many times, overconfident candidates get rejected in HR interviews. So take HR interviews seriously!

But that doesn’t mean you should have a serious expression on your face. All you’re expected in an HR interview is to be yourself, have a smiling face, don’t be overconfident or super excited about the things. Don’t overdo anything!

 

5. Pick Your Favorite Subject / Topic

Interviewers make their job easier by asking you to talk about your favorite subject. Now, you should really be very well prepared to handle interview question. Once you tell the interviewers your favorite topic/ subject; expect a few questions related to it.

 

6. Come up with your Showcase Portfolio

How do you stand out from the competition? Well, the answer is simple –“Have something that others don’t” If you are looking for an IT job; why not work on a few pet software development projects on your own and list them on your resume?

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

Fear of Public Speaking

 

An average person ranks the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of death. The truth is, this fear could be hurting your professional and personal life. Unless you’re a gregarious extrovert, you feel nervous, your palms sweat, and your stomach ties itself into knots before speaking to a group or getting up in front of the audience.

The fear of public speaking is very real. However, there are techniques to help you overcome your fear. There are even ways to help harness your energy in a positive way.

Get organized

When you organize all your thoughts and material it helps you to become much more relaxed and calm. When you have clear, organized thoughts it can greatly reduce your anxiety and fear of public speaking because you can better focus on the one thing at hand, giving a great speech.

Practice, Practice & Practice

Nothing takes the place of practicing and preparing for your speech. Write out a script of your key points, but don’t read from the script word for word. Prepare for your speech so well that you could answer any possible question thrown at you.

Give your speech to another person

There are plenty of people you can practice on. Be sure to tell the person to be completely honest with you in their critique.

Examples of people you can practice on:

  • Your friends
  • Your parents
  • Your girlfriend/wife
  • Your boyfriend/husband

PowerPoint- Make or break

Sometimes, having a PowerPoint can be your best friend. It can help you if you lose your train of thought, keep your audience engaged, and give people a good place to grab notes and main points from. However, do not put paragraphs on one slide.

Focus on the material, not the audience

Focus on delivering your material in the best way possible. Don’t worry about audience reactions.

Keep a check on the rate of speech

Talking fast during a speech interferes with your breathing patterns. If you talk too fast you will breathe less. Feeling short of breath will make you panicked and more susceptible to fear. Practice slowing down when you speak, and you will be more calm and relaxed.

Practice in front of a mirror

If time and money are issues, there’s always the free mirror in your bathroom. Start with simply smiling at yourself. You’d be surprised by how hard that is for some people. Make eye contact with yourself. See? You’re doing great.

Watch for feedback and adapt to it

Keep the focus on the audience. Gauge their reactions, adjust your message, and stay flexible. Delivering a canned speech will guarantee that you lose the attention of or confuse even the most devoted listeners.

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter. 

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Understanding Silent Letters in English Language

 

 

Understanding silent letters in English Language

 

A silent letter is simply a letter in a word that is written, but not pronounced, making things very difficult for non-native speakers

Some examples: ‘K’ in Knife, ‘W’ in Write, or the ‘G’ in Gnaw.

So, why do we even have these letters in the words at all?

It has to do with the evolution of the English language and merged influences from other languages, especially Latin and French. However, these new words from the other languages caused problems because they didn’t follow the same grammar rules as English. So, even though the spelling of these words remained the same, some letters had to become silent to conform to the rules of the English language.

Significance of Silent Letters

-They help the reader to distinguish between homophones in/inn, be/bee, to/too/two, know/no, whole/hole, knot/not.

-Magic ‘e’ – if you add ‘e’ at the end of short vowel sound words it elongates the sound – rid/ride, cop/cope, hat/hate, tap/tape, at/ate, mat/mate.

-Sometimes people might pronounce certain letters or they might not depending on their accent, for example the ‘t’ in ‘often’ can be pronounced or need not be.

-‘H’ is silent in a lot of accents. But the ‘H’ is silent in some words from French – hour, honest, honour, heir, herb (in American)

-They show the origins and history (etymology) of a word.

Some Examples of Silent Letters in Use:

 

A – artistically, logically, musically, romantically, stoically
B – climb, comb, crumb, debt, doubt, numb, plumb, subtle, thumb, tomb,
C – acquire, acquit, blackguard, czar, muscle, scissors, victual
D – handkerchief, wednesday
E – when added to the end of a word, it changes the pronunciation of the word, but is in itself, silent.
F – halfpenny
G – align, alight, champagne, diaphragm, gnash, gnaw, high, light, reign, though,
H – choir, exhaust, ghost, heir, hour, khaki, thyme
I – business
J-(none)
K – blackguard, knead, knell, knickers, knife, knight, knock, knot, know
L – calf, calm, chalk, folk, half, psalm, salmon, talk, yolk
M – mnemonic
N – autumn, chimney, column, condemn, damn, hymn, solemn
O – colonel – opossum
P – corps, coup, pneumonia, pseudo, psychology, ptomaine, receipt
Q-(none)
R – butter, finger, garden, here, myrrh
S – aisle, apropos, bourgeois, debris, fracas, island, isle, viscount
T – asthma, ballet, castle, gourmet, listen, rapport, ricochet, soften, thistle
U – catalogue, colleague, dialogue, guess, guest, guide, guilt, guitar, tongue
V-(none)
W – answer, sword, two, whole, wrist, writ, write
X – faux pas
Y-(none)
Z – laissez-faire, rendezvous

 

One way to start to love spelling and improve it is to take an interest in words, to discover the logic in the spelling system and to understand the background and history of words, and this especially is true for learning silent letters in English language.

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

 

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Learn English -The Fun Way

Learn English

 

Struggling with learning English grammar? Or are you growing weary of your course book? The key to imbibe English aptly is never to cease. But how can you stay piqued when you’re ennuied?

Try something novel.

Here are some theories to make you learn English in a more lively and conducive manner.

 

PLAY SCRABBLE

 

Scrabble is a classic board game in which players use random lettered tiles to create words in a crossword fashion. It’s a phenomenal manner to intensify your English glossary. Playing Scrabble challenges you to really comprehend in English as you attempt to produce different words with your set of letters.

FIND A CONVERSATION PARTNER

 

Get more English conversation practice by searching for English friends online. You might be able to connect with another language learner in your area, or even just exchange emails, instant messages or have Skype conversations in English.

In a language exchange, you have conversations with an English speaker who is studying your native language. This way, your partner practices speaking your native language with you, and then you get to practice speaking English with him or her.

GET A BOOK OF ENGLISH JOKES

 

Joke books are surprisingly pragmatic learning tools. Emphatically, to have English conversations, not only do you need to speak the language, but you also have to fathom the English culture. Humor is very culture-specific; something that’s humorous in one country might not make sense in another.

Reading a joke book is also a nice way to practice tricky concepts like puns and idioms. You might find the joke book entertaining, and they will teach you how English speakers laugh and have fun.

SING KARAOKE

 

Learn a few English songs and sing along with them. It might be intriguing to eventually learn the essence of the lyrics to some of your prized English songs. You can get some like-minded friends to accompany you to go and sing at a karaoke bar. Singing English songs is a stupendous mode to practice speaking and intonation, additionally you can have fun singing songs that you already know and fancy.

Simultaneously, you can also watch English movies and TV shows and play a host of other games like Hangman, vocabulary games, missing letters, etc.

 

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Conquer your Fear of English Speaking

Why fear English

 

Claustrophobia. Acrophobia. Hydrophobia. Most of us are afraid of something or the other. While some of us manage to get rid of our anxieties and fears with time, rest of us avoid coming face to face with our greatest fears throughout our lives. Surprisingly many of us, whether we accept it or live in denial, are extremely afraid of English. We constantly remain aware of our inability to speak or write well in English and thus keep looking for easy escapes.

 

How can you conquer your fear of English language ?

 

The very first step to battle any sort of fear is to first invite it at your doorstep. Why wait for your fear to turn up at your windowpane one morning and sneak into your house? Why not confront it and turn the cards in your favor?

So, no running away! Why would you run away from yourself anyway? The greatest fear lies right in your eyes and if you look closely at your image in the mirror, you shall come to realize that this fear has actually been a mere illusion. It’s needed on your part to come out of the shell woven by illusionary threads and step forward.

English is not only a language but also a way of life in today’s globalized world and must be treated as an integral part of life. After you cross the very first obstacle of confronting your fear, your next step should be to build strategies to eliminate the fear.

“Apart from taking English classes, you also require to spend some time introspecting.”

 

How essential is learning English for you? The moment you answer this question, things begin to fall into place. Do not impose the language upon yourself because that in the end shall bring back the fear. Learn to live English. Learn to love English. Allow English to seep into every bit of your existence.
Once you accept English as an inseparable part of your life, English shall scare you no more! Listen to some fine English music. Pick any artist of your choice and hum along the lyrics.While you travel in the metro or sit in the office alone for a couple of minutes, flip through the pages of an English newspaper. When you’re tired and need a break at home on a lazy afternoon, download an English movie. The moment you feel the urge to be heard, make pen your weapon and put down your thoughts in English on a piece of paper.
What is important is to nurture English, not as a language but as your very own child. You must learn and grow with it. You must learn and grow through it.

Why fear English? Why not befriend it and turn from foes to best of friends?

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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How to be a Good Listener

 

How to be an effective listener

 

There are many guidelines that will help you to become a more effective listener.

• Find an area of interest

Listen with a purpose. Be interested. Try to organize what you hear.

• Judge content, not delivery

Do not stop listening just because the speaker does not meet your expectations. Listen to the words & look for the message.

• Hold your fire

Do not get over-stimulated by the message. Do not react until the message is complete. Keep your emotions in check. Do not interrupt because you believe that what you have to say is more important or more correct. There will be time for you to respond later. The speaker may surprise you and wind up saying what you want to say.

• Listen to ideas

Focus on the person’s central ideas. Do not get bogged down by the unnecessary details. Try to listen at a higher level. Listen for new knowledge or concepts.

• Be flexible

Vary the ways in which you attempt to remember the information. Concentrate on finding the best way to retain the information.

• Work at listening

Establish and maintain eye contact. Acknowledge understanding. Stay tuned-in.

• Resist distractions

Concentrate on the speaker. Tune out other things that may be going on. Turn off the things you can control, like the TV or the radio. Try not to do several things at the same time.

• Exercise your mind

Challenge yourself to listen very attentively. Try it for a short time and then make it longer and longer. See if you can listen to an entire presentation without losing concentration.

• Keep your mind open

Communication efficiency drops to zero when we hear certain trigger words, such as Communist, Democrat, or Republican. Everyone has words that evoke an emotional response. Effective listeners are aware of keeping their convictions and emotions in check.

• Capitalize on thought speed

Most of us talk at the rate of 120 words a minute. Our thinking speed is about 500 words a minute. That gives us a lot of spare time while a person is speaking to us. Poor listeners let their minds wander.

 

LOOK at the person who is talking.

LISTEN and don’t interrupt.

ASK questions to find out more.

NOD, or say something to show you understand.

REPEAT what you heard in your own words.

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter

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How to Master Workplace Conversation

Workplace Conversation

 

“Sensitize & Strategize – Navigating your way through workplace conversation”

 

Have you ever had one of those moments at work when a colleague says something that is in poor taste? It’s easy to spot a moment like that. It’s usually followed by ingratiating laughter or in some cases, just awkward silence.

Surely most of us have been at one end of this conversation at some point or another.

Workplace conversation can be a tricky act to master. Let’s think about it – you spend an average of 8 hours (or more) in a closed space with the same people, day in and day out. It’s like having a family. You don’t get to choose your colleagues and you’re expected to get along with everyone. Some of these colleagues might even be your friends and they often are. But your workplace doesn’t afford you one luxury that your family does – the luxury of saying anything and everything.

 

Being friendly with colleagues often leads to friendly conversations. And sometimes people might say things that are disrespectful to another. There are several areas that are neither black nor white and these are the grey areas which are the knottiest. This is why we should steer clear of certain precarious topics

 

Here goes, workplace conversation strategy:

 

Religion

 

An area where conflict might arise is religion and religious practices. The rule of thumb is to always be respectful. An important thing to remember is to never make unfounded statements about another religion. Religion is a highly sensitive topic and must be handled with extreme caution.

Relationships

 

We sometimes get a bit antsy when people start to go beyond polite relationship talk. People often talk about who they’re going out with or getting engaged to or married to. There’s nothing wrong with that between friends. But when people cross the genial talk line and end up on the other side, it can be intrusive. It’s getting increasingly complicated to discuss relationships in workplaces because relationships are complicated. It’s easier to stay away from getting too personal with colleagues about their relationship status, their hook-ups and break-ups.

Politics

 

You must bear in mind that politics and political views are often the only ingredients you need to start a fight. Discussing politics is understandably a great conversation starter, but it needs dexterous handling.

 

There is such a thing as being too friendly- often, people use their friendly status with someone to say things that clearly don’t belong in the workplace. Commenting on someone’s looks, favorably or otherwise is a no-no. Sometimes we hear comments like ‘You look hot’ or “You should lose some weight’ casually flying about. If it’s the former, it can be tougher to respond to. No one dislikes a compliment. But compliments, in many instances can be a mask for inappropriate comments.

 

Workplace conversation is a ground that must be tread upon carefully. Be aware, note and report any red flags. A safe work environment is one where respect is the definitive sentiment.

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter

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