The Sandwich Email Concept | How to Write a Great Email

MTC Australia | May 10, 2016

Writing emails is an important part of many professions. Crafting professional emails however will differ greatly to those that you send to friends and families. Generally speaking, two of the most common professional emails are either a request for information or a service, or a response or initiation of a complaint. Understanding the basics of crafting these emails is a valuable tool for your professional career, so here we talk through a concept for creating emails known as the “Sandwich Email”.

Sandwich emailing | How to write emails at work

 

So what does a sandwich have to do with emailing? We use a sandwich, particularly the layers of a sandwich, as an analogy for the layers of an email. Think of a simple sandwich; 2 slices of bread, and some filling in between. So in total, you have 3 layers to your sandwich, 2 of which are the same. The bread represents the simple and basic needs to build that sandwich, the filling is the “important” part of the sandwich. As we take this concept over to an email, we carry over the same principle of 3 layers with 2 that are the same.

Layer 1 - Bread | Writing professional emails

 

The first layer (the bread) of an email is for an introduction and  pleasantries and will either be a more friendly tone, imagine you’re catching up with your team after the weekend for example, or it will be more professional in tone, should you be responding to an email of a more serious nature, like a complaint or email to a superior. There is no “right” answer to the exact words to use, but we’ve prepared some first layer examples below:

 

Example 1) Informal and friendly.

 

Hi Jeff,

 

I hope you had a great weekend, did you get up to anything special?

 

Example 2) Professional & friendly

 

Good morning Jeff,

 

I hope you’re well, how was your weekend?

 

Example 3) Professional response

 

Good morning Jeff,

 

Thank you for your email, I hope you’re well.

Layer 2 - Filling | How to craft emails

 

The second layer is the “important” part of your email, as it is the place where you communicate the purpose/reason you’re contacting the recipient. Generally speaking, the best practice is to keep the email as succinct and to the point as possible while still conveying all the questions (or answers) you need to. Avoid using words like “just”, for example “I was just wondering if…”, as words like this can indicate a lack of confidence or doubt. Instead, remain clear, concise and direct which displays confidence and purpose. Continuing in this fashion, depending on the purpose of the email, it’s important to clearly define what it is you want/need, why you need it, how you’d like it delivered (if applicable), and when you need it by. Displaying this information ensures that the recipient quickly understands the purpose of your email and has a guide to respond, making it easier and more efficient for them to deliver what you need. Not only does this mean that the response may be quicker, but it increases the potential for your request or information to be actioned more quickly. The reasoning behind this “filling” is to make the tasks placed on the recipient as easy as possible; the easier you make it for somebody to give you what you want, the more likely you are to receive it. See some examples below;

 

Example 1) Unclear email, with little confidence or instruction.

 

I was just wondering if you could get those reports to me? I’m hoping to put them with the others to send off to Rebecca in accounts.

 

Example 2) Clear, concise and confident.

 

Could you please email me the NSW sales reports, for last week, this morning? I need to collect all the state reports today to send to Rebecca in accounts for processing.

Layer 3 - Bread | Email skills

 

The final layer (bread) is the same as the first; pleasantries. Except, this time it’s your sign off to the email. Ending on a friendly and pleasant note helps to avoid any confusion of tone in your email. As you may have witness before, sometimes emails can sound different to how the sender intended. Placing a simple and nice ending to your email will help to convey the tone that you intended, while also making you sound more personable. See some examples below;

 

Example 1) Informal and friendly.

 

 

Thanks for your help Jeff, speak soon,

 

Best,

 

>Name or email signature<

 

Example 2) Professional & friendly

 

 

Thanks Jeff, enjoy the rest of your day,

 

Best,

 

>Name or email signature<

 

Example 3) Professional response

 

 

Thanks Jeff, I appreciate your help with this matter,

 

Best regards,

 

>Name or email signature<



Getting and keeping a job | MTC Australia

 

MTC Australia assists thousands of Australians every year to learn professional skills to gain and maintain employment. Our professional team of consultants will help you to understand key skills required for successful employment, including email etiquette, interview help, interpersonal skills, and language help. MTC Australia can help restore your confidence and arm you with the knowledge to increase your job possibilities, making you a more desirable candidate for businesses, and work with you to make the most of every opportunity. If you’re a registered job seeker, then choose MTC Australia as your jobactive provider and get in touch today on 1300 BECOME (1300 232 663).

 

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