In our tech-heavy world, emails have become one of the most important lifelines when it comes to communication. And having a lousy email game can be detrimental (seriously!) to connecting with people—especially when it comes to career-related emails. Here are 6 simple but useful practices to use when engaging via email:
- If you’re reaching out to a somewhat stranger—say someone you quickly met at a conference, or an industry vet you’ve only seen on LinkedIn—stand out by making a point to start the email with a connection. For example: ‘My friend X told me about your work and spoke so highly of you that I had to get in touch’ or ‘It was great to meet you at X last week!’
- Send emails on Monday or Tuesday late morning. This is the best time for your emails to be seen and responded to. Emails sent on the weekend get buried in a work account and emails sent later in the day or towards the end of the work week are often pushed off and inadvertently forgotten.
- Stay away from emojis and use exclamation points sparingly unless you know the person well on a real-life basis. More often than not, they’re seen as unprofessional and can be a turn-off. If you’re good friends with the person and they are letting the smiley faces flow, then it’s appropriate to include them.
- Write subjectively and with some emotion. Emails that read like an academic article or without a sense of urgency/excitement about the subject don’t necessarily invite responses. Some people read hundreds of emails a day, so make yours a refreshing pleasure.
- Ask a question or two. Separate them from the body of the email as their own paragraph if possible. Emails with questions give the recipient a reason and easy format for responding.
- Keep the subject line short, sweet, and specific. Think of it as a headline for a top news story. Make it relevant and personal to the recipient and make sure each word has its own punctuated meaning and deserves to be there. (Caps lock and a million exclamation points not necessary.)
P.S. I don’t necessarily follow this system, but it’s super interesting.