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.
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