Emails are an integral part of business communication. They’re one of the most common ways we correspond with colleagues, clients, and shareholders.
Email etiquette is an important part of this type of formal writing. However, it’s easy to fall back on the same formulaic opening sentences. One such line that most of us will have used at some point is: “I hope this email finds you well.”
This is one of the most commonly used email intros, so much so that it’s become something of a cliché. Just because you’re writing in a professional context doesn’t mean you have to resort to repetitive introductory lines.
In this article, we’ll show you more authentic alternatives to “I hope this email finds you well,” and discuss when and how you can use them in a professional email.
Definition and Meaning of “I Hope This Email Finds You Well”
“I hope this email finds you well” is a formal way of expressing well-wishes to the recipient of an email. It means: “I hope you’re in good health at the time you receive this email.”
This common opening originates from the outdated phrase: “I hope this letter finds you well.” Before the digital age, letters were the primary form of business correspondence. It could take days or longer for a letter to reach the intended party.
With such a large passage of time between sending and receiving a letter, the circumstances of the recipient may well have changed since the last exchange. In this context, it’s clear to see how this phrase was used as a genuine sentiment.
However, since it transitioned into the world of emails, “I hope this email finds you well“ has become a generic greeting that many people feel is stale and overused.
Why This Email Opening Sentence May Not Be Ideal
There’s nothing technically wrong with using “I hope this email finds you well“ in your business communications. But while it’s a grammatically correct phrase, there are stronger alternatives you can use.
Whether you’re checking in with a colleague, asking a co-worker for a favor, or sharing the latest projections with a shareholder, it’s important that your email feels genuine.
Because “I hope this email finds you well” has been so overused as an opening line, it can come across as inauthentic and superficial, not to mention a little old-fashioned.
Business emails may be more formal than other kinds of writing, but a more personalized opener can help build rapport and trust with the recipient.
8 Best Alternatives to “I Hope This Email Finds You Well”
Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives to “I hope this email finds you well.” Here are 8 strong opening lines for business emails, and the contexts you can use them in.
1. I Hope You’re Doing Well
“I hope you’re doing well” is a more modern, informal version of “I hope this email finds you well.” It’s a good, unspecific opener for emails that still sounds sincere and personal. For example:
I hope you're doing well.
Are you free to hop on a Zoom call at 2:00pm on Monday? Let me know and I’ll send over the invite.
2. It Was Great Seeing You At [Insert Place Name]
This greeting is most suitable after you’ve had a face-to-face conversation with the recipient and would like to continue a business discussion.
If your interaction was brief, it may be worth including details of the event in your email correspondence to jog the receiver’s memory. Regardless of whether the recipient remembers your interaction, the fact that you did will help build a positive rapport. For example:
It was great seeing you at the Content Marketing Conference last Saturday.
I really enjoyed our conversation on how to identify content gaps. Your insight was refreshing and I think it’s something that our audience at YourMarketingWorld would appreciate. Would you be interested in writing an expert article for our website?
3. Congratulations On [Insert Recent Accomplishment]
Congratulating the receiver on a recent career move or accomplishment is a great way to establish a personal connection in an email intro. Not only is it thoughtful and genuine, but it also shows that you’re keeping up with the latest industry news.
This approach requires a little research, but the rewards are worth it if you want to build a meaningful business relationship. For example:
Dear Mr. Lambert,
Congratulations on your recent acquisition of Touch Glass Technologies.
I can only imagine how thrilled you and your team are for accomplishing such a monumental buy-out.
4. Hope You Had a Great Weekend!
This opener is most relevant to use at the beginning of the working week. While it’s a generic greeting, it shows care for the recipient’s life outside of work and opens the door to small talk.
If the receiver previously mentioned their weekend plans, you could extend this greeting by adding in more specific details to show you remembered. For example:
Hope you had a great weekend! The weather looked great for your hike.
I wanted to jump on a quick call around 12pm to talk over the onboarding timetable for the new hire. Are you available?
5. I Know You’re Busy, So I’ll Be Brief
Sometimes keeping things short and sweet is the best way to be considerate of your colleagues.
“I know you’re busy, so I’ll be brief,” tells your recipient that you value their time and yours. It’s a direct and respectful opening sentence. The only caveat is that you must be concise in the message that follows. For example:
I know you’re busy, so I’ll be brief.
I’ve been invited to speak at an upcoming women’s empowerment brunch. I know you recently spoke at UWI’s graduation session about women in civil engineering, so I’d like to pick your brain on a few things. Do you have time for a Zoom meeting on Monday at 10:00am?
6. [Mutual Contact] Mentioned That I Should Reach Out to You
Starting an email with the name of a mutual contact is a great way to establish rapport from the get-go. A shared acquaintance can build common ground between you and someone you haven’t met before.
If you’re reaching out about a career opportunity, mentioning a respected mutual connection can also act as an endorsement of your skills or your business. For example:
Carlos mentioned I should reach out to you because you’re recruiting for a new Business Analyst. I’ve worked as a Junior Analyst within the company for two years and would love to be considered for the role.
7. I’d Love an Update on [Task]
This opening line is a great way to check in with your colleagues. It’s direct, but the tone is personal and encouraging.
To ensure you get the details you need, you could follow this up by specifying how you want the progress measured, how you want the update reported, and when you need the information by. For example:
I’d love an update on how the new sponsored ad is performing on Facebook. Please can you send me the latest engagement figures from the past two weeks in an Excel spreadsheet by Wednesday 9am?
8. I Really Appreciate the Quick Response
If the recipient of your email has been especially prompt in their reply, you could acknowledge this in your intro sentence. It lets the receiver know you value their time and appreciate their efforts.
This is especially courteous in a high-stakes email where you’re working to a tight deadline to resolve a problem or finalize a deal. For example:
I really appreciate the quick response to this issue. It’s vital that we get the system back online to minimize disruption for our users. I’m happy for you to take the course of action you proposed.
Conclusion on “I Hope This Email Finds You Well” and Alternatives
While often used with the best of intentions, “I hope this email finds you well” isn’t the strongest of email intros.
The examples above are all great alternatives to this generic opener. Not only will they make your business emails less repetitive, but they’ll also add a personal touch and help build rapport with the recipient.
Of course, an email greeting is just one part of writing a successful business email. The body of your emails should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. The ProWritingAid Chrome extension can help you send professional, error-free emails every time. Download it for free now!