pen rainbow

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday—The Email Corner

5 great tips for getting your emails noticed!

From AsianEfficiency by Thanh Pham

In the era of email overload, here's how to get your emails read!

Rule #1:  Avoid One-Word Subject Lines
Because a lot of people use key words to search for email that is most important or most interesting to them, use key-word rich subject lines.

Subject:  Meeting (critical info is missing)

Subject:  Mandatory Planning Meeting (this says what kind of meeting it is & who should be there)

Which one is more likely to get read first?

Rule #2:  Be Specific
Give immediate specific information.  This is especially important when people are checking email from mobile devices.  Subject lines should convey the most important info in a bullet format.

Subject:  Mandatory Meeting (critical info is missing_who/what/when/where/why?)

Subject:  Mandatory Mtg_Oct25_2pm_Bob's Office (all of the basic info is there)


Subject:  Hi there!  (The real reason for the email is missing.)

Subject: Overdue Wells Fargo Notice_Oct 12 (The reason for the message is clear)


Subject:  Call Mary  (Vague message)

Subject:  Call Mary_Interested in buying your car_925 555-5555 (Information is provided for immediate follow-up)

Rule #3:  Actionable Format
If the message requires follow-up or action, start the subject line with an action word.

Subject:  New Pix (this does not tell the recipient that he/she has to download photos)

Subject:  Download New Wedding Pix

Using an action word at the beginning of the subject line makes it a "to do" email for the recipient.

Rule #4:  Use Known Key Words & Abbreviations
The art of a good email involves packing as much critical information into as few words as possible.  One way to condense the volume of words without losing meaning is to insert known key words & abbreviations.  If you are a twitter user, you already know the joy of sending powerful messages in short snippets of information.

Subject:  House News (Important info that neglects the timeliness of a response)

Subject:   URGENT—Interested Buyer_Call 415 555-5555 (Vital info is all there)


Subject:  Hello Neighbors! (Forces the recipient to read the body of the message)

Subject:  BBQ at my house this weekend_Oct 13_EOM (End of Message)  All of the info is in the subject line.


Subject:  I'm late!  (Is there more to this message?)

Subject:  Running 15 mins late_start without me NRN (No Reply Needed)

Click HERE for a handy list of common prefixes & abbreviations

Rule #5:  Standardize Regular Communications
For email communications that are regulated in terms of timing & operations, use a system that easily identifies the nature of the email.  For example...Time Cards.  Start your subject line with TC_then the date & project.

Subject:  My timecard (for what time period & for what project?)

Subject:  TC_10/12-16_client name (all of the important info is there)

Or, for personal correspondence...

Subject:  Things (A crazy-making vague message if there ever was one!)

Subject:  MU_Free Furniture_10/23/13 NRN
MU could be the abbreviation you use for "Moving Update," but this info has to be shared with the recipients beforehand.  The subject line tells what is going on and when.  NRN = No Reply Needed

If you know how to create email filters or rules, that can also save you a lot of time sorting through essential and non-essential email.  These are usually found in the mail preferences (try the pull-down menu under "Preferences" under "mail").  Check gmail for their system preferences.