Start with the Talking Points to see how often your students exchange business emails, who they write to, and whether there are certain things they pay special attention to when writing a business email. Then show them the infographic discussing basic rules of email writing etiquette, see what you have already mentioned. Ask your students to order the rules according to their importance and justify their decision. Let them compare their list with their partner(s). Discuss the rules with the whole class and see whether you agree on the top 3 rules.
The next part of the exercise involves writing and responding to emails, trying to apply the rules discussed previously.
Divide your class into two groups.
One group receives worksheet 1A, 1B; the other 2A, 2B. Before they start writing, you might invent professionally sounding email addresses for each person from the exercise. It will save the trouble some of the less imaginative students (name of the company?!), and allow you to check whether they remember one of the 6 rules.
Students need to write the email in points 1A, 2A respectively. Allow 10 minutes to complete the task.
Then students should exchange their worksheets so that a person who wrote email 1A now replies to 2A (and 2A to 1A). They need to fill in sections 2B and 1B respectively. Allow another 10 minutes for this.
Now, students 1 and 2 should work in pairs to compare and correct the correspondence they wrote, and see whether they followed to rules of email writing etiquette (minus the time requirement). Monitor and answer questions while they work on that.
Finally, you might want to elicit two model emails and two responses from the class and put them on the board for your group to copy / print them and distribute among your students.
I felt it was a much-needed class for my in-company groups (intermediate and upper-intermediate) to revise everything on business email writing we have covered during the course. While the first part of the exercise went really well; students were comfortable talking about business email writing and really appreciated the infographic, the actual written part was a bit more challenging. It was a good idea to pair the students up and have them self-correct their emails, but I still needed to offer a lot of explanation, clarification and correction which took a lot of time (my classes were between 4 and 8 students) and I would definitely like to streamline the procedure in the future. Coming up with model business emails at the end was effective as far as getting rid of some final doubts and leaving my students with a tangible business email model.
Worksheet: BUSINESS EMAIL WRITING
Infographic: EMAIL ETIQUETTE