Email is a tool that we use daily for making business contacts, requests and providing information. It’s clear many of us don’t give much thought to how we use it. I’m going to spend a bit of time in today’s post reviewing what makes people want to open your email and read it.
Every email you send is a clue to you, and your personality. Are you concise, or rambling? Prompt or late? Clear or confusing? Remember your corporate and personal image is formed by what you send out.
I know that there have been times when I got an email from someone I didn’t know well (or someone I knew too well) that I looked at the subject line, the mail, saw how long it was, looked at the subject line again, and simply closed the mail without reading it. Other times, I have read into the first paragraph of a mail and stopped.
What made me do that? Usually it’s a result of long and rambling text filled with no information of value to me. Sometimes it’s form email soliciting something, and I don’t care what, simply because of the combination of who it’s from/subject line/writing style. I know, now you think I am shallow. But I am not. My time is valuable, and I like to think other people’s time is too. So what makes us want to pay attention and read an email?
1. A good subject line
The subject line should be precise. Boil the intent of your message down to a few words and make it action oriented.
- “Can I get your opinion on this strategy please?”
- “Sue, I’d appreciate your collaboration here”
- “Xian can you please quote on this customer request”
2. Use People’s names, a salutation and personalize the first sentence.
This isn’t rocket science folks. You need to be polite to people, and you need their cooperation to read the mail, to do what you’d like them to do, and to respond kindly.
Thanks for the opportunity to quote on your bathroom renovation. I know we’ll be able to get the marble you want.
3. Just get into the purpose of the mail.
The body of the email, hopefully only one paragraph, should be the meat of the mail. Make your message direct and the objective of the email easy to understand. In most cases this will involve very few lines.
4. Finish it.
Summarize your mail, and be polite.
Thanks for taking the time to review this request. Please let me know if you need any more information.
My final word of advice here is to always read and re-read your mail for spelling and grammar. Major errors are a turn off to most people, and can impact the image you are trying to project.