Sometimes it’s a matter of luck whether or not your emails get opened. But it takes a lot more than luck to entice recipients to read your message. It requires crafting an engaging opening statement that conveys the right tone and context for the main message.
Here are some familiar email scenarios and suggested openers:
- Addressing a colleague’s mistake: Nothing halts productivity faster than calling your reader out. To keep defensive feelings at bay, start your email by saying, “I need your help to clear up a potential misunderstanding.”
- Keeping your team in the know: It’s common to use phrases such as “I just wanted to update you” or “FYI.” But a compelling opener such as “We are making great progress with XYZ industries” is more likely to pique your readers’ interest.
- Bridging the time gap: When emailing someone you’ve fallen out of touch with, it may seem prudent to articulate the length of time that has lapsed since your last encounter. Don’t. It only draws attention to the fact that you forgot about the reader. A simple “I trust all is well since we last connected” will suffice.
- Starting a relationship: Begin by referencing a mutual connection or offering a compliment such as “I just saw a video of the impressive talk you gave on at-risk youth.”
To maximize the effectiveness of an email, keep it short and avoid grammatical errors and misspelled words. They reflect laziness on your part, which shows a lack of respect for the intended reader.
Remember, it’s not just an email you’re sending—it’s a way to get results.
Before you act . . .
Start noticing emails that get you to take some sort of action. Draw on them to draft several strong openers that address different situations. You’ll be glad to have them at the ready.