The Hamburger Model 3


How should I structure my e-mails?

The Hamburger Model

To illustrate how e-mails are structured, I would like to draw an analogy between hamburgers and e-mails. I know it sounds weird, but bear with me.

Firstly, let’s look at what a burger consists of. Of course the main ingredient, or body, is the patty – this is what it’s all about. You might also garnish it with a few further ingredients, e.g. a slice of cheese, gherkins, onions, and, needless to say, ketchup. The bun (or bread roll) is the casing which makes the whole thing more presentable, nicer to touch, and holds it all together.

And what has this got to do with e-mail? Well, the patty represents the main message, or body, of an e-mail. For example, ‘Could you send me the slides asap?’. Although this is all you actually want to say, without something to take the edge off the message it might come across as too direct, unfriendly, or even rude. The soft casing of the bun symbolises the opening and closing comments. The opening – the intro, small talk, etc. – can be seen as the soft top, while the close – final friendly comments, further info, offer of further support etc. – is represented by the underside of the bun. Without the bun, the content would just be a chunk of minced meat (possibly horse); not particularly tempting, nice to look at, or to touch. The extras – cheese, onions, ketchup, etc, – could also be viewed as the diplomacy; adding a slightly sweeter taste to the overall flavour.

With the EmailWriter App, the main content (the meat) is found in the Body section, while the Opening and Close sections offer all the ingredients you need to make your e-mail friendlier, more effective and all in all easier to digest.

Of course, depending on the message of your e-mail, or to whom you are writing, you may wish to leave out certain ingredients.

Remember. It‘s nice to be nice!

body – Hauptteil
bear with me – haben Sie Geduld mit mir
to draw an analogy – einen Vergleich anstellen
bun – Brötchen
patty – Hacksteak
garnish – Garnierung
slides – Folien (e.g. PPT)

body – corpo
bear with me – abbi pazienza, porta pazienza
to draw an analogy – analogia
bun – panino per hamburger
patty – pasticcio, polpetta
garnish – guarnizione, contorno
slides –

Examples for Opening / Close in EmailWriter
Opening – general reaction, sorry for late reply, how you got the contact, presenting yourself, small talk, etc.
Close – thanking, apologising, please inform, attachments, request answer/update, further support, friendly phrase, future contact, phone number, etc.

3 thoughts on “The Hamburger Model

  1. Reply maria May 30,2013 %I:%M %p

    Great post.

  2. Reply Sylvia Jun 17,2013 %I:%M %p

    Hi there! This blog post could not be written much better!
    Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He always kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this post to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a great read. Many thanks for sharing!

  3. Reply Alex Walls Jan 17,2014 %I:%M %p

    I’ll never be able to type an email without getting hungry again. In fact even whilst writing this comment, I’m salivating at the thought of a Quarter Pounder and fries with a deliciously over-sized coke.

    As someone once told me, they stopped writing regards at the bottom of their emails after realising the close proximity of the ‘g’ and ‘t’ keys!

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