Tonsho Spring Newsletter: Making Yourself Heard

In our last newsletter we talked about organising your inbox. In this issue we turn our attention to outbound messages and ensuring the recipient reads and responds to your message in "5 Tips for Getting your Mail Read and Processed".

Best wishes,

Edward Ross

5 Tips for Getting your Mail Read and Processed

1. Choose a good subject line

Your mail should always contain a relevant and informative subject line. This is the first impression the recipient gets of your mail. Remember to think of the subject from the recipient's point of view. For example if you are sending a general enquiry from your company to another, the name of the company you are sending to is a bad subject line - everything in that personís inbox relates to their company so you told them nothing. Here the name of your company is much more important for the recipient. If you regularly send emails to that company you should also ensure that you have a good summary subject title to distinguish one email from you from the others.

2. Salutation Etiquette

When initiating contact, your email should begin with a salutation line "Hi Joe," or "Dear Mr. Jones,". Just the personís name is also considered sufficient in an email, e.g. "Mike,". Leaving out the salutation when you are initiating the conversation may seem rude or sloppy and will reduce the effectiveness of your message. In subsequent replies it is considered normal to miss out the salutation, particularly where the reply only needs to be short. (A short reply is much more polite than no reply).

3. How many topics?

If you want the recipient to actually take action on your email, such as send you information, it's much better to split topics with just one per email. With two or more topics in a single mail people often forget to cover everything. With just one topic it's highly likely the reply will cover what you need.

4. Make it easy to reply

In the case that you simply want confirmation, make this explicit in your message. People will often delay replying while they think of what to say. Consider including as your final line "Please, just reply with a simple 'yes' or 'no'". You can even include a little 'home-made' form. "Please, just hit 'reply' and put an 'x' in your preference: blue [ ], yellow [ ]'.

5. Limit unnecessary cc

If you cc a lot of people on a message, then it will feel less personal, decreasing the likelihood the main recipient will read and respond to the mail. Sometimes it may be helpful to send directly to the main recipient and then forward to other interested parties to remove any confusion over who you want to handle the mail.

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