Did you ever send off what you believed to be the most fabulous, informative, and engaging e-mail, yet no one responded to it? Here’s a thought:
Maybe the e-mail wasn’t as effective as you thought it was.
Here are some tips to make e-mails more engaging:
Do you need to send it? This is the biggest decision you will make about an e-mail. Do you really need to send it or would a quick phone call or text suffice? If you need to provide or receive the information for documentation purposes, or it it’s too long or complex for other communication devices, send the e-mail. If you are trying to schedule lunch with a friend, don’t bog down their e-mail, pick up the phone.
Subject Line: The e-mail intent should be very clear in the subject line. Which subject line do you think will elicit a more timely response?
1. Subject: Agenda
2. Subject: Respond by 07/02: July Board Agenda Items
Hopefully you selected the second one which provides adequate information, without even opening the e-mail, to determine what needs to be done and in what time frame.
Conversely, if the e-mail is only intended to be informational, say so. Something like “Info Only,” “Joke,” or “Family Photo” in the subject line will let the receiver know it is something they can look at when they have some down time.
Keep it short and simple: The e-mail should only contain whatever necessary to assist the recipient in processing the information. As much as you may want to set the tone with pleasantries, don’t succumb to the “Hey there! Hope all is well with you. How was your weekend?“ verbiage unless the e-mail is truly intended to be conversational in tone and you actually want to engage in personal banter.
Do, however, provide sufficient background within the e-mail to assist the recipient in processing it effectively. If would like them to review a product or website, provide a hyperlink. If would like them to review a document, make certain you’ve attached it. Providing whatever information necessary to assist in the process will ensure a more timely response.
Make your close mean something: This is a good time to succinctly reiterate the intent of the e-mail and proactively thank the recipient for their anticipated action. “Thank you for submitting your agenda items by Wednesday, July 2nd, at 5:00 PM.”
Review before sending: Always, always review an e-mail before sending it. You can’t take back typos and bad grammar. Check the tone of the e-mail (did you come off as too demanding?). Ensure you provided everything the recipient needs to process the e-mail effectively.
We are continually bombarded with electronic messaging through our e-mail in-box. Make certain your e-mails stand out from the others by being relevant, succinct, and polite. Your recipients will thank you for it.
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NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) Seattle Area Chapter President
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