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Capýtulo 3:

 Office communications. Comunicación en la oficina en inglés

1. Internal messages

Whilst it’s perfectly acceptable for internal e-mails to be less formal than those which you’re sending to external clients or customers it’s still important to remember that all business e-mails should still be treated seriously. Information should be conveyed in a clear and concise manner and it’s also important to note that many companies will still keep every single e-mail which every employee has sent or received on an internal company mail server, even if you’ve deleted them from your own mailbox. This means that you need to take care of the way you write your internal e-mails and carefully consider what you’re saying.

Golden Rules of Internal E-mail

Firstly, don’t write anything that you wouldn’t want anybody within the company to read. Don’t criticise a boss or fellow employee unless you’d be happy for the person whom you’re criticising to see that e-mail too, as they just might. People have had disciplinary action taken against them as a result of bad-mouthing their boss or supervisor to a colleague within an e-mail. Similarly, unjust criticism or comments that challenges somebody else’s integrity, competence or honesty can, if discovered and traced back to you, result in libel action against you.

(from: http://www.worketiquette.co.uk/)

When at work, there are plenty of situations where you have to communicate with people. These communications can be informing, reminding, asking, and so on. Different methods are used in different contexts:

  • e-mail (the most well know one)
  • memo
  • report
  • handwritten note
  • notice on the notice board
  • suggestion box
  • article in the in-house magazine
  • informal chats
  • intranet

The more informal the situation is, the more informal the e-mail can be.

A typical structure for any piece of written information, short messages or longer reports, would be:


2. Attachments

When you want to send a document with an email, it’s called an attachment. Attachments can be word documents, photos, invoices, contracts and much more.  They can be a very useful way to remind clients that you have some sort of information.  For example, if you haven’t received payment from a client, you can send them a copy of the invoice so that they have all the information from that particular order.  When talking about attachments, you can use both formal and informal language.

Very important: make sure you attach the document to your e-mail, it is very easy to forget.

See these examples:

  • I have attached a copy of our latest sales figures. (Formal)
  • I have sent you a copy of the invoice as an attachment. (Informal)
  • I am attaching our latest newsletter. (Informal)
  • I’ve revised your document and I sent it to Mr Fry for a final check. (Formal)

According to the “work-etiquette” website: (www.worketiquette.co.uk)

“Attachments are one of the main sources of computer viruses so never open an attachment unless you’re 100% sure that the person who’s sent it to you is not going to send you a virus. Even then, spammers have sophisticated methods these days so, wherever possible, don’t open an attachment unless there’s some text in the body of the e-mail of another employee who has specified what the attachment contains and that it’s safe. And, if you’re the sender, try not to use attachments unless absolutely necessary and then follow the same guidelines, so that your recipient knows it is safe to open the attachment.”

Activity 1.
Complete the phrases by writing a word in the gaps.  There could be several possible answers:

  1. I can’t open the …………….. that you sent.  Could you please resend it in a compatible format?
  2. I’m …………….. a couple of documents for you to complete.  Please pay special attention to the expenses claim form.
  3. As we discussed, I’m ………… you a copy of the notes from the last meeting.
  4. Please find the latest sales figures ………….
  5. I’m returning your original …………… with my comments inserted in red.

3. Checking understanding

Sometimes the information in an email isn’t clear.  Perhaps you are unsure exactly which project your manager is talking about, or a colleague sends you an email, but forgets to attach a document.  Or maybe you’re just not quite sure if the information you have been sent is correct.  In all these cases, it’s easier to send an email asking for clarification, rather than trying to worry it out on your own.

Activity 7

Read the following email exchange and complete the gaps with the words from the box below.


From Kate to Mike

Hey Mike,

How are you? I’ve(1)………....…. those figures you wanted.  Our marketing strategy is really beating out the competition this year. By the way did you hear that(2)…….....….. the is in Thailand this year, I can’t wait!

From Mike to Kate

Hey Kate,

I’m good, how are you? I got your(3)…….......….., but you forgot to attach the figures, could you send it again?  Our client Sonic will be happy to hear that the advertising schemes are doing so well.   I heard that we were off to(4)……....………… for the conference, but then I heard that from Max, so it’s not a very reliable source, he was also telling me that we were going to Russia.

From Kate to Mike

Hey Mike,

I’m fine, a bit stressed, sorry about the attachment, I hope it’s ok this time.  Unfortunately there has been some (5)……………with the launch of Sonic’s new advertising campaign, in fact it’s in the middle of a copywright dispute, but all our other(6)………….. are more than satisfied with our business.  New Zealand eh?  That would be a treat for the sales team!

From Mike to Kate


I got the attachment this time, but you’ve sent me the(7)…………for last month, not this month.  That’s too bad about Sonic’s(8)…………, I hope it will be resolved soon.  Also I just assumed you were talking about the marketing conference, the sales conference is going to be held in London, I hope it won’t rain too much.

From Kate to Mike


So sorry!  I’m feeling a bit under the weather today.  I hope the (9)……………..works this time.  I can’t believe it, London!  I’d already bought a new swimsuit.

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