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5 Tricks For Writing Emails That People Will Actually Read

Topics: Career Advice
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Employees spend an average of 13 hours a week on email, according to research. That amounts to 28 percent of workers’ time, and about 650 hours per year. So, it’s no wonder that emails get lost in the shuffle all the time, especially by people who receive a lot of them. These days, it takes some effort to create an email that busy people will actually read. So, if you want to reach out to a boss, hiring manager, or maybe an important member of your professional network, consider these suggestions:

1. Construct your subject line carefully.

Researchers have found that some kinds of subject lines work better than others. Basically, you want to try to construct a subject line that does, at least, one of two things. First, it should spark the reader’s curiosity and compel them to want to read more. Hook your reader with a subject line that makes them want to continue. Second, people open emails when the subject line demonstrates the utility or usefulness of the email. You’re more likely to catch your reader’s attention if you keep these goals in mind and carefully construct your subject line.

2. Keep it brief.

These days, people literally have the attention span of goldfish. So, take care to be as brief and to the point as possible when composing your email. Now is not the time to offer long background explanations or stories or to go off on tangents. Be as focused and succinct as you can. This way your reader will feel like your email is something they can quickly and easily wrap their heads around.

3. Pay attention to the time of day.

It might seem like it doesn’t matter what time you send an email, but it does. Emails are more likely to be seen and read if they come in when someone is actively checking emails. A lot of busy folks check their email early in the morning and late at night. So, sending your email during one of those times might help it get a little more attention.

4. Ask one question at the most.

Don’t try to accomplish too much with your email. This isn’t the right platform for working out a ton of details. Instead, focus on trying to get a response to just one big question, at the most. Email is a great option for getting a fast response to a simple inquiry. It’s also a great platform for scheduling a meeting. Be sure your primary question is clear. You may even want to end with it.

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5. Personalize it.

Make sure your email contains personal touches that speak to the recipient directly. Also, take care to target the right person with your email. Do your homework in advance. Then, reach out personally to the individual you need. And, address them personally when you do. This human touch helps cut through the formality of email and can help elicit a response — or at least a more thorough read.

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