Have you ever sat down at your desk in the morning – steaming coffee (or in my case peanut butter granola bar) still in hand – and switched on your computer to find over one hundred emails clamoring for your attention? Scary statistic: the average professional gets more than 100 e-mails every day. (This is one area where I do not want to be above average!) I feel ‘inbox overload’ all the time… and it is not fun.
The other side of this problem is we all need to send emails that will spark an action. So, how do we break through the inbox clutter and write an email that will inspire a response? Let’s take a look at an easy three-step format I use often… because it works.
- State why you are writing to this person or reference who suggested you contact them within the first two sentences.
- Support this information with a brief (I emphasize brief!) explanation.
- Make a call-to-action: remember to make this easy for the person receiving the email. Give them your phone number, a time you can call them or let them know you will contact their assistant.
Another key piece to the puzzle is formatting – a visually appealing email is easier to read – and act upon. Here are some quick tips:
- Make sure your whole email fits on one screen
- Use paragraphs, bullets, indentation, and proper punctuation – make your email easy to skim and absorb
- Leave white space (viewing a big block of text is visually overwhelming)
Make a list of five people you need an answer or some kind of response from and test out this format when you email them. Let me know what happens!