There’s little more annoying — especially in a professional setting — than emailing someone and then sitting around waiting for them to respond to you, not knowing if they ever will. After all, “I get a lot of email” is no excuse in a business environment to ignore critical messages, but we all know that email is just a pain to deal with. The solution is to compose your messages carefully so it’s easy for your recipient to respond to you. We don’t just mean make them short, either. Here’s how.
Image: PaulPaladin (Shutterstock).
The fine folks from The Art of Manliness penned an excellent guide to writing emails that will get you responses a while back and their tips are sound, both for personal messages, office communiqués and cold emails and press pitches. The key is to consider your recipient and then tailor the message so you get your point across with as little fluff as possible but still makes it easy for your reader to hit reply, get you the information you need and move on with their busy day.
They explain that the person sending a message and the person receiving it often have two very different perspectives — while the former is looking to include as much information as possible and has a vested interest in communicating their entire idea and the thoughts that went into it, the latter is looking for brevity, clarity, and probably gets a ton of messages just like the sender’s every day.
Like most things in life, the trick is to put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re emailing. Pretend you’re staring at their inbox and think about what kind of message will make it through the fog and actually convince them to respond. First, make sure you even need to send the message and your answer can’t be obtained through a simple Google search.
Then, address your note to a specific person, open with a salutation and keep your request personal but brief. They suggest building a little rapport with the recipient, letting them know you understand they’re busy or that they probably get this question often, but that’s up to you. In the end, make your request crystal clear and limited to a specific question or questions.
We’d go even further and suggest you stick to one question or topic — everyone knows it can be a pain to email someone a list of questions and only get an answer back on one of them. Oh and spelling and good grammar are important too. What about you? What are some tips you wish everyone would follow before emailing you at work, or at home? Let us know in the comments below.
How to Write an Email That Will Actually Get a Response [The Art of Manliness]