Doing Business | Sales & Marketing

May 22, 2013

Write an Email That People Will Read

When you send an email, chances are that it’s competing with hundreds of others for the recipient’s attention. Here’s how to compose emails that people will actually read, answer, and act on:
  • Get straight to the point. Make your request in the first few sentences. Be polite, but concise. Try an opening like, “Great interview. Thanks for sending it. May I ask a favor?”
  • Keep it brief. People find long emails irksome and energy-sapping. The more they have to scroll, the less receptive they’ll be. Limit your message to a single screen of reading.
  • Write a short but informative subject line. With a generic or blank subject line, your message will get lost in your recipient’s inbox. Be specific — try “The Nov. 15 Leadership Program” instead of “Program.” If you’re asking someone to take action, highlight that in the subject.

 

Text by Harvard Business School Publishing
 

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