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How To Write An Email That Will Not Be Ignored

How To Write An Email That Will Not Be Ignored

Today, email is one of the main forms of communication we have with one another. Unfortunately, there are some times when we send out an important email and then wait patiently for a response that never comes. It appears that it has traveled into the black hole of emails!

To make sure your emails don’t get swallowed by the black hole, there are some basic rules to follow regarding what to include and utilize in your email — and what to leave out! Here they are:

Keep the body short

Firstly, the body of the email…

The body is what is going to get read, or maybe skimmed over. You are hoping that every word gets read; however, if your emails look more like novels then that may not be the case. Keep the body short. Short is relative, and we must define this: three to five sentences is the maximum.

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Why do you need to keep the body short?

Anything more than this starts to seem needy, especially if you don’t know the recipient. Neediness is an immediate turnoff for people. Once your brain senses any sort of neediness it goes into survival mode. Oren Klaff, New York Times Best Selling Author, describes it best, “Exposing your need to someone else makes them fearful.”

Write in a natural voice

Write as yourself. Do not use language that people won’t understand. Show the recipient that you are a real person writing this email and not a robot who is programmed to write.

This also goes for the salutation of the email. Don’t fall into the trap of writing, “Dear Sir or Madam.” Take the time to find out the recipient’s name. Use “Hi” or “Hello” if you know the person; “Hey” may even be acceptable in very informal working relationships.

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Include one call to action

Note the one here. The more items that you ask for, the needier you sound. The call to action is essentially you asking the recipient for something that you want them to do. Ask for a meeting or a phone call. Or coffee on Wednesday. But do not ask for multiple items, such as, “Can we schedule a meeting for Tuesday morning on the phone and can you edit my latest book?” This asks for way too much from one email! The point is to get the email read and receive a reply back — not for someone to hit the delete button.

Closing your emails

Write words here like “Best,” “Cheers,” “Warm wishes,” or “Thank you.” The point here is to show that this is not automated. Writing “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” etc., screams to the recipient that the email is automated or that it is a general, impersonal email.

Email subject line

This is one of the most important things when it comes to either getting your email glanced over, or read. Personalized subject lines work wonders: for instance, “John Smith Suggested I Contact You.”

Create intrigue and utility within your subject lines. Chris Brogan, CEO of Human Business Works and another New York Times Best Selling Author, also has a few great subject lines including:

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  • YES OR NO: _______
  • 2 MINUTES TO READ: __ (and the subject, briefly)
  • NEED YOUR DECISION
  • DINNER PLAN PROPOSAL
  • PLEASE FORWARD HANSCOM’S LETTER

Putting all of the pieces together. Here is a sample email:

Subject: 2 MINUTES TO READ: CONGRATS ON THE BOOK

Hi Jessica,

Congrats on the newly published book. I am a first-time author and truly amazed at your success. I enjoyed the topic of your latest book diving into your travel adventures in Spain, as I have lived there, too, and could relate. What is one piece of advice that you would give to a starting writer?

Cheers,

Bobbi

Emails are used every day, but the number of emails read fully is dwindling. Make sure yours get to the top of the pile, and then actually read and replied to, by following these simple tips.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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