Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Your email is an invitation for me to pay attention

The attention of a person is the rarest commodity around. In the world of advertising its known implicitly. It's the whole reason for putting TV shows on, for instance. If you're watching a show and your attention is on it, the ads get some wash off, and that's what they pay for.

And we see plenty of companies working very hard to get ones attention. Almost everyone worth sending an email to will get at least a hundred per day. Your message is competing for attention with all of them. Your recipient will probably have seen your message come in, and needs to make a split second decision as to how much energy they spend on it. Off the top of my head, here's a set of tips:

Make the subject header informative
Get your grammar and punctuation right, all through. You instantly become disrespected if your email is poorly written.
Make the tone respectful of the other person's time
Make the email as short as possible, with small paragraphs
Try to only make one request
Make it a request that can be instantly actioned by the receiver - busy people can be happy to do something for you, but not enter a stream of correspondence.

Many people - I find - fail at this last point. Your reader has got all through your message but then gets:

"Can we get together to chat? I am in China at the moment"

Now what should I do with that? It's a little unfair to get bent out of shape due to being ignored when you make it hard to efficiently deal with your email.

When you send a mangled, confused email, chances are somebody else's email won the managers attention, and effort of response.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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