Q: Do you have any tips for taking what I have read into my writings efficiently?
- Free dictation software (Dragon) on iPhone (the voice recognition software often makes mistakes, but you can edit them before emailing to yourself)
- Voicemail on Skype (When away from a notebook, I call myself to leave a quick message. Later, I listen to it to remind myself of the idea or phrase.)
- IC recorder (Olympus Voice Trek V-72)
- Notepad (digital or paper-based)
- Note cards
- Lang-8 Language exchange SNS http://lang-8.com (free with some conditions; please see website for details)
- Microsoft Word grammar check (free after initial software purchase)
- Grammarly http://www.grammarly.com (free initial check; monthly subscription to receive computer-generated explanations and suggestions)
- i-osmosis http://www.i-osmosis.jp/itest/toefl.html (please see website for details; useful for more than just TOEFL writing since lessons learned can be applied to any writing task)
A: You can make it even easier for your recipient to immediately understand why you’ve sent them an email and to quickly determine what kind of response or action it requires. Compose a great “Subject:” line that hits the high points or summarizes the thrust of the message. Avoid “Hi,” “One more thing…,” or “FYI,” in favor of typing a short summary of the most important points in the message:
In fact, if you’re relating just a single fact or asking one question in your email, consider using just the subject line to relate your message. As I’ve mentioned before, in some organizations, such emails are identiﬁed by adding (EOM)—for end of message—at the end of the Subject line. This lets recipients see that the whole message is right there in the subject without clicking to the view the (non-existent) body. This is highly appreciated by people who receive a large volume of mail, since it lets them do a quick triage on your message without needing to conduct a full examination.
- Dear Sir or Madam: (use if you don't know who you are writing to)
- Dear Personnel Director: (use if you only know someone's title but not his or her name)
- Dear Dr, Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms Smith: (use if you know who you are writing to, and have a formal relationship with - VERY IMPORTANT use Ms for women unless asked to use Mrs or Miss)
- Dear Frank: (use if the person is a close business contact or friend)
A: Say hello. Business email has become so informal that some people do not even begin with a salutation. Avoid this habit. Properly address the person you are writing and use a colon, rather than a comma. For example, "Dear Mr. Smith:" is a correct business opening. You can switch to a comma once back-and-forth correspondence is established.
- With reference to your advertisement in the Times...
- With reference to your letter of 23rd March...
- With reference to your phone call today...
- Thank you for your letter of March 5th.
Q: What form is the proper way to self introduce myself to you in this email for making questions concerning the contents of the class last week?
- Dear Professor Ricci
- Dear Mr. Ricci
- Dear Mr. Vince Ricci
- Dear Ricci sensei
- Dear Mr. Vince
- Dear Sir
- I am writing to inquire about
- I am writing to apologize for
- I am writing to confirm
Understand why you’re writing
Before you type anything into a new message, have explicit answers for two questions:
- Why am I writing this?
- What exactly do I want the result of this message to be?
- Could you possibly...?
- I would be grateful if you could...
Get what you need
- Providing information - “Larry Tate will be in the ofﬁce Monday at 10.”
- Requesting information - “Where did you put the ‘Larry Tate’ ﬁle?”
- Requesting action - “Will you call Larry Tate’s admin to conﬁrm our meeting on Monday?”
If your message includes any kind of request—whether for a meeting, a progress update, or what have you—put that request near the top of the message and clearly state when you will need it. Do not, under any circumstances, assume that your overwhelmed recipient will take the time to sift through your purple prose for clues about what they’re supposed to be doing for you.
This email is:
[ ] actionable
[ ] fyi
[ ] social
[ ] yes
[ ] up to you
[ ] no
[ ] immediate
[ ] soon
[ ] none
- I am afraid that...
- I am attaching...
- Please find attached...
- Attached you will find...
- Thank you for your help. Please contact us again if we can help in any way.
- Thank you for your help. Please contact us again if there are any problems.
- Thank you for your help. Please contact us again if you have any questions.
- Updated by Vince on Fri 12 Aug 2016
- I have been a full-time international graduate admissions consultant since 2002
- Based in Tokyo, Japan, I help clients around the world
- In 2007, I launched VincePrep because I wanted to help the best candidates aiming for the top schools
- To share my insights with a talented team, I rejoined Agos as Consulting Director in 2014
- Now, I lead 10 professionals who deliver Japan’s best graduate admissions results
- I also serve as Board President of The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC)
- Given my ongoing professional and personal commitments, I accept very few clients
- Usually, I refer prospects to one of my highly-experienced and successful colleagues
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- Thank you for your interest, and best wishes for your success!