Publié le 18 June 2019
Welcome to Le français des affaires 5 tips series. We’ll give you 5 tips on how to improve an aspect of your Professional French.
Here are 5 tips on how to write a professional email in French.
1. Write a clear subject line – Make sure you keep your subject line short and clear, so they know exactly why you are writing them. The subject line gives the reader a preview of your email. If your subject line is too complicated, your reader may decide to open it later, or quickly skim through it. When applying for a job, and trying to forge a partnership, this could mean the difference between succeeding, and never getting a response.
2. Use the proper greeting – Being polite is important. If you know the title of the person you are writing to, use it; ex: Madame la Directrice. If you know their name but not their title, use that; ex. Monsieur Dubois. If you use an improper greeting you could offend your reader, ruining your chance of getting that job, or closing the deal you worked so hard on. Make sure to include the appropriate closing as well; you can refer to the table below for examples.
3. Address the email recipient properly – There are two ways to address someone in french, using vous (vouvoiement) and using tu (tutoiement). In a professional email, you should always use vous, unless you know the recipient well and they have specifically permitted you to use tu. Using the wrong form of address is rude, and drastically decreases your chances of getting a well-thought out response.
4. Introduce yourself – If you are writing to someone you do not know, your should introduce yourself in your first sentence ex. Je m’appelle Jane Smith. Je travaille en tant que la responsable de communication pour [l’entreprise X]. Je vous écris au sujet d’une réunion entre nos entreprises. Additionally, in English we have the habit of starting an email with “Hope you are doing well.” You should avoid including that in a French professional email, and simply introduce yourself and your reason for writing instead.
5. Re-read your email! – Check for any grammar or spelling errors, and re-read it outloud, if possible, to ensure it makes sense. If you struggle with grammar, consider sending the email to a friend or coworker to double-check that it has no mistakes.
Now you’re ready to go send professional emails in French! À votre tour !