14 Tips For Getting Busy People To Read And Respond To Your Emails

A reader recently asked us how to get people to acknowledge her emails.

To fulfil her request, here’s the distillation of what we’ve learned about clicky emails.

Part 1: Only email when you have to.

Before you click “compose,” take a moment:

• Consider this: While we all default to email — the inbox is so fun! — there are lots of ways to communicate, like IM, text, or even a phone call. If you need an immediate reply or if the subject is touchy, pick up the phone.

Part 2: Write a killer subject line.

A crisp, actionable subject line has a few key ingredients. They include:

Keeping it super short: Inboxes display only the first 60 characters and mobile phones just 25 or 30 characters, so get to the point in eight words or less.

Put the important stuff at the beginning: 50% of emails are read on mobile, so make sure your good stuff gets read.

Use keywords: Everybody gets buried under their inbox now and then, so make your messages readily searchable with keywordy subject lines.

Tell ’em if you need a response and when: If you need a reply by end of day, then include, “Reply needed by EOD” in the subject line.

Part 3: Put together a brief, awesome body.

Make the body text glance-able and action-able. Here’s how:

Stay short: If it’s more than 300 words, pick up the phone.

Revise: Type out what you want, paste it into a text doc, then type it again.

Avoid exclamations: Us internet-folk use exclamation points all the time. It makes us look silly.

Be cautious with humour: Leave the funny stuff out unless you know the recipient well.

Provide some value: Show the reader what you can do for them.

Put your email into bullet points: It makes the reading super easy.

• Make the “conclusion” clear: “Your conclusion is a statement of the decision that you want the recipient to make, based upon the contents of your email,” says Inc. writer Geoffrey James. Put it right at the top.

Part 4. Don’t send anything you’ll regret later.

This can be done in two ways:

• Learn how to ‘un-send.’: There’s a gmail extension.

• Send it to yourself first: That way you get the experience of receiving the message.

If you have any more tips, tell us in the comments.

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