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6 Tips for Writing Emails That Will Get Opened

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6 Tips for Writing Emails That Will Get Opened


    Email is my favourite medium of communication.

    It’s personal, easy to execute and takes little time. In today’s world, it is the easiest way to get in touch with somebody…no doubt about it. However, it does take a bit of planning and requires you to put in some thought before you actually compose a message. Your friends and family may be delighted to receive an email from you, but this might not be the case when you are writing with a business purpose in mind.

    The more influential a person is, the busier they are. They might be receiving hundreds of emails in a single day. Unlike most people, they don’t open each and every single email; instead they scan through the subject lines to see which ones catch their eye.

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    You won’t get any closer to your goals unless they actually open your email – and read it. Here are 6 tips that will greatly increase your chances of emails being read — and responded to.

    1. Clarity of Purpose

    Before you even put your fingers on the keyboard, think why you want to write the email (its purpose) and what you want the recipient to do (action). Gather all the information you need to provide.

    Here are some reasons why you want to approach someone who is very important to you:

    • Get in touch with an A-list blogger to pitch a guest post
    • Let a famous author know how much you admire their work
    • Seek a referral from someone
    • Want to interview somebody important
    • Approach a prospect to sell your services

    Notice all the reasons for connecting with someone are vastly different from each other. By being clear in your head you can produce coherent, concise, and effective emails.

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    2. Effective Subject Line

    Compose a subject line that tells them why they need to open the email. Do not send out messages with vague or dogdy subject lines:

    • Please read this (or) Can I have 20 seconds of your time? (Don’t beg for attention)
    • Very urgent (Unless it is, and it will still benefit by adding more information)
    • Hello (Refrain from one word subject lines that say nothing about the message inside)
    • Can I take you for lunch to pick your brain? (Making a request is a huge no-no!)
    • Invitation to join our affiliate program (Making the message sound like it is automated and coming from a website or an online service)
    • Free gift for you inside (Spammy – avoid at all costs even if you are sending a token of appreciation)

    Say what you need to say immediately, preferably in the subject line if possible. People are too busy these days and if your subject doesn’t interest them, they will not click on it. Write a subject line that sums up the purpose of your email (refer to point 1). If you are not entirely clear on your message, you will find it hard to write an interesting subject line that will entice the reader to open it.

    3. A Friendly Salutation/Get to the Point Quickly

    When writing to someone you don’t know, it is better to start with a ‘Hello’ instead of saying ‘Dear Mr Smith’. This is too formal and out of place for informal communication such as email. When you write to someone known to you, just say ‘Hi (Name)’. Don’t try and go overboard unless you know them outside of professional circles.

    Email is meant for simple, quick communication. Say what you want to say, say it quickly, and say it just once.

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    4. Clear Communication

    Make the purpose of your email clear. Let them know how it relates to them, otherwise your email will get deleted in short order.

    They can’t see your body language or tone of your voice to gauge whether you are kidding or not. There is a greater possibility of your emails being misread. Jokes usually do not transfer well, especially when writing to somebody for the first time.

    Remember these principles of effective communication:

    • Replace longer words with shorter ones.
    • Keep your sentences short; use fewer and shorter paragraphs.
    • Break up your paragraphs and use bullet points to make it easier to read on the screen.
    • Pay attention to your spelling and grammar.
    • Edit for jargon. If not, you convey lack of attention to detail and may portray an unprofessional image.
    • Keep it brief, short and concise. Don’t ramble.
    • Give complete information; the recipient should not have to get back to you for more information. Avoid the possibility of confusion and delays.
    • Do not provide lengthy background information. Attach a file if extra information is required.
    • When writing in response to somebody’s email, mirror their approach. How do they usually communicate with people? Did they write two sentences to your four paragraphs email? Match their style to achieve results of your writing efforts.

    5. Informal — Yet Courteous

    Write as if you are talking to them. Keep it conversational, yet never say anything you wouldn’t say to somebody’s face. When feeling emotional, write your email and save it as a draft. Go over it when you are feeling calmer and revise. Always write polite emails.

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    Always think of email as being public. Presume any email you write can be read by anybody else — and write accordingly.

    6. Clear Plan of Action

    What do you want them to do?

    • Perform a specific action. They need to give you more details on a project.
    • Respond with information. They need to confirm if they are available for a conference call the next day.
    • Read only. They need to read your message to clearly understand something. No response is necessary. You are away and need to reschedule a meeting. You will contact again.

    End with short thank you. And don’t forget to add an email signature, your contact details, website, etc. Always write a business email with this point in mind: everyone is busy and gets a lot of email.

    Follow these tips and you’ll not only be able to send better emails, but you’ll send ones that are worth getting opened.

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    (Photo credit: Button Mail via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2021

    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

    We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

    A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

    So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

    • honest
    • reliable
    • competent
    • kind and compassionate
    • capable of taking the blame
    • able to persevere
    • modest and humble
    • pacific and can control anger.

    The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

    1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

    All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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    But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

    2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

    How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

    I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

    “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

    Abigail Van Buren

    3. How does this person take the blame?

    Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

    4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

    You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

    5. Read their emails.

    Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

    • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
    • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
    • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
    • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
    • Too many question marks can show anger
    • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

    6. Watch out for the show offs.

    Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

    7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

    A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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    Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

    8. Their empathy score is high.

    Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

    People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

    9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

    We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

    “One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

    Stendhal

     10. Avoid toxic people.

    These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

    • Envy or jealousy
    • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
    • Complaining about their own lack of success
    • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
    • Obsession with themselves and their problems

    Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

    Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

    Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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