Want a very busy person to take note when they receive an email from you? Of course!
Email is the modern man’s bane of existence. You receive a great deal of email and send off even more. When sending an important email, you hope for a speedy reply or action.
Do the math. If you multiply the number of emails in your inbox by the time that would be required to read through it and respond to those who expect a reply, it would be astonishing and feel basically unmanageable.
However, there are straight-forward techniques that can be of enormous help to improve the amount of action you receive on your vital emails. In addition, your recipients will also appreciate it .. as much as anyone loves email. Here are some tips on emailing purposefully to grab his or her attention.
1. Write short and snappy.
Don’t ramble on in your emails. Concentrate to spend as much time to figure out what to cut as on writing your important emails. Two old sayings in writing definitely apply here: that less is more and to leave it out when in doubt.
2. State upfront about what you’re asking.
From the first sentence your reader should be very sure what kind of action you require from them or what the reason is for the email. State it clearly and if you don’t require any action, say that the email is only informative and that no action is necessary.
Sometimes a lot of background information is needed to explain a complex matter. Still make sure that the expected action is listed near the email’s introduction. A good idea is to put key information like a date in bold and red, especially if you want the reader to save the relevant date and location. Do this with the date by which you would want a reply. Put it in red near the intro.
3. Rather break an email with multiple parts into segments.
When necessary background information makes an email longer, break it up in segments. The reader will find it easier to read and scan for the relevant information when guided by segments. When receiving any email that is just a grey block of text, most people will file it unread and go on to the next email.
For more tips on how to create email that will entice busy people to read it, see the second part of this article.
4. Address people one by one.
This is critical, particularly when asking for help. Every sociologist would be able to tell you that if a CEO writes a group email to a board that says: “Who can help with an introduction to XYZ?” or “Please look at the list of possible new investors and give feedback,” people might not respond – even if they are well-intentioned.
Some people might refer to it as being a “thing.” If an email addresses you personally and asks for your help specifically, it will have more appeal and you will be more likely to reply. If you don’t you will be letting down the writer who seems to be asking you individually, personally and solely.
Sending out a group email that says: “I wondered if anyone can help me with …,” every recipient will think that someone else will help. Some might help, but not as many as when each one of them had received an individual email.
The easiest way to get this done is to write the biggest part of the email in a general way and then to create numerous versions of it. Then add each individual’s name in the beginning with a short personal message.
Make sure important emails are created individually, although this might take a little longer than just an email to the group.
5. The subject line matters most.
Like the headline for a news story or the text of a tweet, subject lines matter a lot. People scan their email and therefore subject lines to work out which one we should open first. If, after a few days you send out a reminder about your email, it might be found in email purgatory, if the subject line didn’t grab enough attention. Make it matter. Write something like “short request: time sensitive”; “key intro: Firm A or Firm B”; “Jan 23rd: discussion on TV roundtable, RSVP before tomorrow, almost full” or “swift question: need your help.”
Usually it doesn’t have to be perfect, but with a really important email it is your lifeline.
6. Choose the time of day carefully.
Don’t send important emails Friday afternoon .. ever! Rather write them during the weekend and then send them early on a Monday morning, to be among the first emails in an inbox, not down at the bottom. Although experts on productivity believe that the opening of emails should not be the first thing you do every morning, most people still do.
If you’re using Gmail, Baydin’s Boomerang is your handy helper. If you’re using Outlook, click on the Options >> Delay Delivery feature.
7. Clean up and resend.
Some people are extremely busy and can’t read each and every one of the emails in their inbox. The demands get even higher the more high-ranking they get and the more responsibilities they have en they will most likely not be up until early hours to read and respond to their emails.
Just resend the email. Use REPLY ALL so that they can see that you had sent the email before. Not to put them on a guilt trip, but to get their attention. Write that you know that they are busy and that you hope they didn’t mind you resending the email, but that you only wanted to get it at in their inbox again. Then repeat your request.
On your third attempt, include something in the way of you hating to sending email and really not wanting to be a stalker or a pest but that you were only hoping for 2 minutes of their time … a little humor can go a long way.
Remember, not every professional has a zero inbox policy. Some, in fact, keep everything in their inbox. As unique as we are, we all process email differently and no set of rules will always be the answer, however if you use these tips in conjunction with some perseverance, good things will happen.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
Since 2006, Out of the Office has offered ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, content writing and offering creative solutions for your business success.
Image credit: Hebi65 at Pixabay | CC0 Public Domain