The Art of Effective Emailing: How to Get the Information and Responses You Want

by Endgrate Team 2023-07-13

Emails aren't merely dueling other emails for your reader's attention these days

They're competing with many other message boxes, including those on Instagram and LinkedIn. Yet, this doesn't mean you should abandon your trusty email service.

Emails can still be one of the most effective communication weapons—if you know how to craft ones that command attention. And if you don't, don't fret—your roadmap to email victory begins here.

From job proposals to action items for meetings, productivity guru Jocelyn K. Glei shares nine proven techniques to craft email requests that compel responses.

The content below is borrowed and slightly adapted from Jocelyn K. Glei's book, “Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distraction, and Get Real Work Done”.

  1. Aim for the Bullseye with Your Ask: Without appearing aggressive or demanding, it's crucial to ask your question within the first sentence or two. The objective is to snag the reader's attention and convey the requested action immediately. If you bury your ask in a sea of chatter, you risk losing an impatient reader before they even get to the ask.

  2. Prove Your Worth: "Why should I bother?" is the underlying question in most people's minds as they open an email, particularly if it's from a stranger. Thus, building your credibility from the onset is essential. Show your reader why you're unique, successful, or why they should pay attention to you.

  3. Plot the Course: Unclear emails are the bane of productivity. Always clarify the next step in your message—it increases your chances of getting a response by making it easier for the recipient to agree to your request.

  4. Ask a Question, Suggest a Solution: Emails are not debate platforms. If you want to get a response and have your way. Don't merely ask questions: propose solutions.

  5. Aim for Quick Scans: Design your email to be easily scannable and digestible, emphasizing key points. Use bullets, numbers, and/or bolding to make it easy for your reader to quickly process the email and comprehend the important parts.

  6. Clock is Ticking: Set a Deadline: If your email is urgent, let the recipient know. Busy individuals appreciate deadlines as they help structure when things need to be done. So, without being domineering or overly pushy, kindly give your reader a timeline for your request.

  7. Craft Your Subject Lines Like News Headlines: To ensure your email is opened, it must bear an intriguing and clear subject line. It's akin to writing a captivating headline for a blog post or article that you want people to click on. Craft your subject lines to deliver a strong first impression.

  8. Edit Without Mercy: After drafting your email, put on your critical lenses and remove anything redundant. An email that is clear and concise from the onset saves everyone's time.

  9. Preview on your Smartphone: Since emails are often first opened on a phone, ensure your message is digestible on the smaller screen. If it seems overwhelmingly long on a smartphone, it's time for another round of ruthless editing.

Although this might seem like a substantial effort for an email, remember this: if you invest the time to create a message that instantly grabs your reader's attention, your emails will be more efficient, you'll get the responses you are seeking more readily, and you'll spend less time in a drawn-out communication back-and-forth. That's a big win for you and will go a long way toward helping you get where you need to be.

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