5 Tips for Writing Emails That People Read and Reply To

It began with looking at my in-box and seeing that a certain person, known for verbose emails, had sent yet another long-winded montage of thoughts.  Not only was it challenging to see what the person actually wanted, between the eight sentence paragraph and the front-end diatribe, I had to read through it four times which actually cost me valuable productivity.  The reality is that the average solopreneur, small business owner, and even middle manager, are not adept at writing emails that people actually read and want to reply to.  Instead, they tend to have their communique fall to the bottom of the in-box unlikely to be acknowledged in a timely fashion.

 

Busy people have a deluge of email on a daily basis.  Emailing them means that you are just one of several people vying for their attention.  Jillian D’Onfro, in an article for Business Insider, listed the ninja email tricks of Jeff Bezos, Tony Hseih, and Bill Gates.  From hiring email handlers to quick replies, some of the wealthiest people on the planet are also the most efficient at writing emails that people open and tampering their replies so they can churn out responses in the least amount of time.  Yes, of course if Bill Gates were to email you, you would likely open his email, however if Bill Gates sent email manifestos, the cache would likely wear off.

 

Our in-boxes are flowing with correspondence.  Some of it is necessary.  Some of it is junk.  Sadly, even if your email is important it may get lost in the shuffle if you do not know how to properly word it. The reality is that the average person receives 88 emails per day however sends only 34 emails per day. The average employee checks their email 74 times per day. Needless to say, it is easy to see the point – people receive your emails and if they believe that it is going to take too much time to read or respond, they are likely to let you go to the bottom of the in-box never to see the light of day.

 

So how do you write an email that people want to read and reply to?  Here are 5 tips to get a faster response, become more productive with your email, and ensure your email does not get lost in abyss.

 

1.Title Your Email With Urgency

Use titles like, ‘quick question,’ or ‘as promised.’  The latter is good if you are following up a conversation with an email.

 

2. Limit the Social Niceties to One Line

In the aforementioned email from the lovely, and yet long-winded individual, the niceties went on for five sentences.  As well-intentioned as it was, it is also disrespectful to send highly productive people emails with long openers.  Their time is valuable and asking about their kids, their high school reunion, and their life in general in the opener is a surefire way to have your email unread.

Instead, limit the opener to one line, ‘Hi X – hope you are having a great day.’ Keep it short and professional.

 

3. Get To the Point Fast

Busy people do not have time for nonsense.  They do not want to know the drama and backstory of your issue.  Instead, get to the point.  It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are.  If a busy person wants to know, they will ask.

 

4. Limit Your Email to 3-4 Lines…MAX!

The first thing a productive person is going to do is scan your email.  If they think they can answer it in a word, one to two sentences, they will likely reply.  If they believe they are going to have to read, re-read, or even process vast amounts of information, they are very unlikely to read it or reply.

 

5. Forget Grade 6 Grammar and Add One Space Per Line

You are not writing a novel, you are writing a business email. Imagine that the person on the receiving end has at least 87 other emails to deal with and yours is just one of them. If you want someone to read and reply to your email then put one space after each line.

 

With that, I wish you every email success.  May your emails always be returned promptly, efficiently, and by those with whom you wish to correspond.

 

PS – at Step Into Your Power(tm) we read your comments.  Please feel free to comment below.  If this article has been helpful, we would love for you to share it on your social platforms using the quick share buttons.

 

PSS – I have a new program starting for people who want to take their business, and personal brands, to the next level.  Check it out here.  The code ‘NOW17’ will take $800 off the list price until October 15th.

By | 2017-10-04T16:03:56+00:00 October 4th, 2017|Blog, Productivity, Solopreneur, You Economy|3 Comments

About the Author:

Susan Sly is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, certified NLP practitioner, coach, and trauma recovery specialist. Susan specializes in helping people become more productive so they can lead ridiculously fulfilling lives. She is the mother of five and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

3 Comments

  1. Bruce Corkhill October 4, 2017 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    This such valuable information Susan, thank you. When I worked for a major hotel/resort chain the General Manager who was my direct report would send out these lengthy e-mails and many times he was calling out a Manager in front of all of us and throwing them under the bus. It was painful to read and painful to see that other Manager during the day when they knew what had just occurred. It was the most painful JOB I had ever had and the sad thing it did not have to be that. Thank you for all you do Susan.

  2. Meghan October 4, 2017 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Awesome Info ! Ready to tackle ny new way of writing emails!!

  3. Deanna Alexander October 5, 2017 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Thank you Susan for this valuable time saver!

    E-mail is a big part of my business. I am going to share this with my staff and fellow business people I correspond with.

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