Work on Those Emails, it Pays Off


A couple of years ago, I gave you the secret for writing emails that stand out.

Using an example (with permission) from my own inbox, I showed what got my attention. Hint: It was about the care and interest the author took in writing it so that it would not come across as promotional or self serving in any way.

What I remembered most though was how I felt after reading the email. Because the author provided context with the story. What did he do right?

He started with the payoff – this is good news. Framed his state of mind with a very brief history of his conflict – a Saturday, new to the group, did not know what to expect – to resolution. He's done his homework and is matching the style to mine as observed so far.

Then the longer description that sets the stage for providing the feedback. Not taking himself too seriously, he wraps where he started. Go read his email, if you'd like. You'll see how much care he put into composing it and why he did.

Here are some things to think about when you write an email to connect:

  • do you have a goal? I'm asking this because sometimes the email I get is just a bland pitch, and there is no clear call to action
  • what do you want the recipient to do? That would be the call to action
  • how are you going to relate to them? This is the part where people read the blog or learn about the other not just so that they can propose appropriate content, although that works well, but so they can also get the tone right. Relating is key to get to the next one
  • how will your email make them feel? This moves you from just another unknown entity in an inbox to a person who's paid attention. This is not the touchy feeling part, it's the value part, the meaning part
  • where are you going to fit in? Notice how he weaved in his experience as a proof point or qualifier for his remarks

I believed him when he wrote he agonized over sending that email. Check out the chart above. Still not convinced that email is still how people get things done?

I write a lot every day – for the Web, emails, letters, blog posts, articles – and getting the tone right is what makes a piece of communication connect with its intended audience. Tone is as important as content.

How you say something is as if not more important than what you say – as a speaker and writer.

What would you have done to connect with a speaker you learned from? Have you written an email that hit the sweet spot in connecting you to someone? What can you teach us about your success?

Have you been on the receiving end of a well crafted and relevant email? What made you read on and reply?


[graphic hat tip ReadWrite Cloud]

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