Readers have asked me to suggest opening sentences for emails that go to people around the world. The goal of these openers is to avoid coming across as blunt and impolite, especially in messages to people from cultures in which English is not the first language.
It is wise for people in the English-speaking business world to include a sentence of greeting rather than getting immediately into their business purpose when they write to people who expect and value such email courtesies.
Below are a few opening sentences for international email. Each one would come after a greeting such as "Dear Dr. Rivas" or "Hello, Osouf." You can use "I" or "We" depending on whether you are writing as an individual or as a representative of your group.
- We hope you are enjoying the season.
- I hope all is well.
- How are you? I hope you are healthy and happy.
- I hope you are well.
- I hope you are fine.
- I trust you and your coworkers are fine.
- I trust you are doing splendidly and enjoying the season.
- We send you our best wishes.
- I send you and your esteemed colleagues my warm wishes.
- Greetings from all of us at _________ [fill in organization name].
- Greetings from _____ [fill in a person's name] and me.
- Greetings to you and your coworkers.
- Best wishes to you and your family.
- It is a pleasure to be in touch with you again.
- It was a delight to see you in ____.
- I hope you enjoyed your trip to ____.
- Welcome back to work! I hope you had a wonderful vacation.
If you correspond with business readers around the world, you can pay attention to the opening sentences they use, and respond similarly.
One popular opening sentence is "I hope this email finds you well." Although it is common at the beginning of business email, I recommend using a sentence that sounds more natural. To me, "I hope this email finds you" is awkward phrasing.
It is a good idea to vary your beginning sentence if you write to someone often. A repeated opening sentence could come across as a habit rather than a sincere sentiment.
I would enjoy your additions to the list above, along with your thoughts about polite opening sentences. Please share!