How To Write Emails People Will Actually Read
Are you sitting waiting for people to respond to your 50+ emails? Are you looking for a job, an investment, an office or even a date? Well the secret is in HOW you write your mails. The key to getting people to remember you is to intensify the energy that radiates from you – also when you write. This energy is the power generated by your (high) EQ. It is what people “fall for” and remember you by. Whether they will keep in touch with you and continue their enthusiasm for your energy is a reliable signal of your capacity to be reliable, conscientious, and trustworthy.
Let me try to put this into perspective. Every week, I ask around 100-200 people about their ability to remember others. It’s surprising how little people actually remember about others. They do not remember the e-mails they received, the participants of the meetings they attended, or the person who left a message on their answering machines. It’s not because they are senile, but because everyone is so busy and bombarded with e-mails, messages, meetings, and more.
Many of us still write e-mails to each other including after a conference, meeting, job interview. E-mails are still the most widely used method of contact and method to follow up. Roughly 74-75 trillion emails were sent last year around the globe. E-mails can be good, but they can also be unsuitable. People receive a lot of e-mails, and it can be difficult to remember all the e-mails that are received because they all look alike. Learn how to write good e-mails that people want to read and will remember.
Let me show you a very typical e-mail:
Thank you for the meeting on [date]. At the meeting we agreed to blah blah.
I will follow-up and will get back you as soon as possible blah blah.
I would like to inquire about a meeting on [date]. Attached is the draft agenda blah blah.
Have you received similar e-mails? How did it make you feel? Did you feel like meeting the sender?
What is wrong with these e-mails are the following:
- The introduction is rather impersonal. The e-mail is not relevant because it does not link the sender and receiver together. They lack something that makes the reader think, “I have to take care of this, and therefore, I will read the e-mail.”
- The e-mail is too short. E-mails should be short, but not too short. Take the time to be personal. TIP: Test the quality of your e-mails by adding some of your colleagues as CC so that you will get some feedback on your e-mails.
- No urgent action. The e-mails do not ask the receiver to do something urgently. He gets the impression that he is only asked to keep his eyes and ears open, and that is rather noncommittal.
The same rules apply to letters. Be personal and relevant.
Letters and e-mails can be written in accordance with the PRAC method:
- P= Personal
- R= Relevant
- A= Action
- C= Contact
Be personal (sometimes senders do not write a name in their e-mails; the letter just reads “Dear Customer”). Sometimes people just write a general e-mail or letter and send it to everybody in the network without addressing it to specific persons. That does not work. You will find that people will not get back to you when you write to a large group of people. People want to feel that you are engaging with them directly and personally. If you absolutely must send mass e-mails and letters, then you must not do what everyone else does. You have to think about the people who receive your e-mail or letter and why they should read it.
How are you?
[And then you ask about how things are at work, in the organization, with the family, etc. (depending on how close of a relationship you have).]
[Explain why James has not heard from you in such a long time. “You are among the people whom I really would like to reestablish contact with. I hope the feeling is mutual etc.”]
[Then write about something that you two have or have had in common. Maybe you are former colleagues, partners, etc. Refer to something that the other party will remember fondly.]
[Say thank you for something so that the person knows that you value the relation and that he means something to you.]
[Then write what you need. Make it brief and concise. Be concrete. Ask for action. Then follow up.]
And IF you do not prefer mail in general, you can use phone and text, Telegram or Skype messages.
Personally, I’m a fan of the phone. When you call people or leave a message, you show presence and initiative, and the person you are calling can sense your mood, and vice versa. E-mail is efficient but try calling the person 30% of the time. You will be surprised how much it brings to a relationship. Leave a message if the person does not answer the phone. Make it brief, concrete, and personal. Smile while you are speaking, it will increase the probability that you will be someone people will actually call back. Your message should be less than one minute and include a request for further dialogue.
Social media is here to stay whether you like it or not. The people that you will likely want to connect with are increasingly active on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter. Social media is useful for:
- Information and knowledge sharing
- File sharing
- Connecting on a professional and personal level
- Fostering loyalty
- Cooperation between people
I use Telegram and Whatsapp and Twitter and Linkedin.
General Networking Tips
- Be yourself—the best version of yourself
- Be strategic, selective, and thoughtful about who you network with (quality rather than quantity)
- Ask what and how questions to invite people to talk about what is on their mind
- Express needs clearly so that other people can understand you and help you
- Remember to say thank you when people help you so that they will want to help you again and again
- Remember to help other people if you can so that they will like you
- If you cannot help a person always offer the person an alternative
- Be someone to rely on so that people will want to share something with you
- Make your preparations before participating at events to avoid wasting your time and the company’s resources
- Be good at making contact so that people feel they are in good company when they are with you
Give something of yourself so that you create a trusting atmosphere in your mail(s). You can build mutual trust with each other in a few seconds if you follow these simple steps.
Soulaima Gourani is a seasoned global business woman, corporate counselor and author. At the age of 28, Soulaima Gourani received recognition as one of Denmark’s brightest business women when she received the prestigious Rising Star award and the Talent 2004 award. Today, Soulaima Gourani exploits her vast knowledge and experience as an adviser and speaker for some of the world’s most innovative companies, when they seek inspiration and motivation. Read her interview on LadyBossBlogger here.