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The right tone in emails

Make it polite & positive
Making requests

When writing business emails a professional yet conversational tone is the most effective.

Imagine you are attending a function attended by your colleagues and supervisors. In this situation you would need to be polite, positive and friendly. At the same time you need to be professional. Also you need to consider who you are speaking to and their position and level in the organisation.

Email communication is similar but with an important exception:

  • your communication is electronically transmitted so it can be passed on to anyone within or external to the organisation.

Make it polite & positive

Everyone responds to a polite positive tone. Criticism, rudeness or negativity will lead to reader resistance. Email messages need to show politeness and should be positive whenever possible, otherwise they risk sounding abrupt and possibly angry.

Comparison of tone in emails


Making requests

When making requests, it’s a good idea to use a modal or conditional construction such as 'Could you …' or 'Would you be able to...'

Comparison of email tone in requests



Activity 3




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