Besides texting, e-mails are the second most common way of communicating. It’s the main tool of communication within the office environment, coordinating logistics, networking, and pitching.
You name it.
Because it’s such an integral part of our lives, the details you wouldn’t think matter, matter.
From the subject line, opening, body, to sign-off.
In PR, you have about five seconds to impress a reporter with a catchy story or your e-mail gets thrown into the trash. Not to mention you’re competing with hundreds and hundreds of other e-mails flowing into their inbox at the same time.
Point blank: nobody wants their time wasted.
There’s a right and a wrong way to go about e-mail. The obvious one — if they haven’t responded, maybe it’s not so smart to be sending five follow-up e-mails?
Let’s break it down.
Networking / Informational Interview
If you’re reaching out to someone perhaps from your dream company or seeking out an informational interview, make it brief.
Make sure you’ve familiarized yourself on that person’s background and track record first before reaching out for a sit-down face-to-face.
Because there’s nothing more embarrassing than getting caught not doing your research.
Essentially, they’re doing you a favor. If they’re going out of their way to do something that’s all for your benefit, at least offer to cover for lunch, drinks, or coffee.
This could be a business pitch or a initial reach-out for collaboration.
Have the deets lined up: who you are, what you offer, why this is relevant, and a link leading to your website and social media channels. If you’re a blog or influencer, attach a media kit. If you’re a business, attach a press release for reference.
That’s it. If that person is interested in more information, they’ll reach out.
E-mails are meant to be brief. As I open an e-mail, I’m already wondering — what’s the point?!
Don’t make it hard for the other person by writing out four paragraphs before you let them know what it is that you’re asking for.
Cut out the fluff. Get to the point.
If you’re in an office and e-mail is the primary form of communication as opposed to IM, e-mail etiquette is essential.
We can start with some no-brainers like — no need to include a sign-off each time you reply to an e-mail.
We get it. You’re across the hall. You don’t have to sign an e-mail each time with “best regards.”
Sign-offs are good for introductory e-mails or within an conversation where you’ll know there’ll be an end. If you’re communicating back and forth throughout the day, and the conversation is ongoing, there’s no need.
If you feel so inclined, a simple “Thanks!” is a lot less formal than “best” or “yours truly.”
Also, let’s make sure you’re not sending e-mails to the wrong person.
Been there, done that. Super embarrassing.
Granted, if technology is involved, there’s bound to be an error at some point, but it’s best to be cautious, and taking a double look before pressing “send.”
And, if there’s a mass company e-mail and you have a specific question, no need to “reply all.”
We don’t want to clutter anyone’s inbox.
The key is to be efficient and intentional.
Everyone has a certain something that irks them when it comes to e-mails. You’ll catch on very quickly how someone else prefers to communicate — if they’re the kind of person who’s super responsive or a bit slower. If e-mail is not their thing, it’s best to just give a call.
Like Ivanka Trump always says — in an ideal world, e-mails would just be for coordinating logistics.
E-mails have their purpose, but can’t be a replacement for face-to-face or phone conversation.
Use your best judgement.0