Writing Effective Emails in the Workplace: Formality, Content, Language and Format

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo

Jennifer Lombardo received both her undergraduate degree and MBA in marketing from Rowan University. She spent ten years in consumer marketing for companies such as Nielsen Marketing Research, The Dial Corporation and Mattel Toys. She is currently an adjunct professor of marketing at Rowan University and a social media marketing consultant.

Writing an effective email in the workplace can make communication flow better among coworkers. Explore the key factors of a successful email, involving having the correct knowledge of email formality, content, language, and format. Updated: 10/01/2021

Effective Emails

Colin Comma spent many years working in the Meltaway Chocolate company factory. He just completed his business degree through a rigorous online college program.

This past week, he found out he was being promoted to assistant product manager of the chocolate snack food line. His first week on the job was disastrous due to his lack of knowledge regarding how to write effective emails in the workplace.

His coworkers were confused by his inappropriate tone, lack of subject line information and overall unprofessionalism. Fortunately, his boss quickly pulled Colin aside and realized that his lack of email communication experience could be readily fixed with help from the entire staff. During lunch for the next week, each of Colin's coworkers will be providing him with tips on proper email formality, content, language and format.

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  • 0:01 Effective Emails
  • 1:03 Formality
  • 2:10 Content
  • 2:49 Language
  • 3:32 Format
  • 5:07 Lesson Summary
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Patty Polite was a seasoned veteran of the candy company. She met with Colin on Tuesday to discuss the proper formality, or rules and behaviors, of email communication. Patty explained that there are some basic rules to follow:

  • Employees need to think before they write. It is important to not react and send a message without thinking things through. Patty explained that Colin should consider building a draft message, or preliminary message, first. The next step would be to proof the message, making sure it's professional and well thought out.
  • Email only those people that are pertinent to the message. Make sure not to over CC and BC, or copy and blind copy. Colin does not want to email the entire company every time.
  • Make sure what you email is the truth. Since the boss can read any message, Colin has to understand that anything he puts in an email can come back to hurt him.


Karen Drop was selected to train Colin on content, or subject matter, on Wednesday. She explained to Colin that it is important to have the correct content for an email to be successful.

  • Keep the subject/topic only related to work. Colin should not use company email to try and find a date or for other inappropriate matters.
  • Censor your messages. Karen explained that they had to fire someone who sent risqué images around the office through emails. Always refrain from sending angry or inappropriate messages.


Thursday's lesson on language, or proper writing structure, was given by Georgia Grammar. She is a former English teacher who now handles the public relations for the candy company. She told Colin that he needed to:

  • Use proper grammar and correct spelling. She highly suggested always using a spell checker before sending any message.
  • Never type email messages using all capital letters. Georgia explained to Colin that using all capitals would be considered shouting, and the receiver would think that he is being rude.
  • Proofread your message before sending it. Always take the time to reread messages to look for any mistakes.

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