Mind your (email) language

by Will Rotondi

As a culture, we love social media. Chances are that we’ll spend more cumulative hours in our day chatting to each other digitally than we ever will in real life.

It’s not without its merits. Email can help you find and establish new business relationships, after all. Not just through the convenience of LinkedIn, mind you – I mean sending normal email messages out to completely cold prospects.

The only catch: mind your language. Your readers won’t have the benefit of nonverbal cues, nor will they hear your vocal inflection. Even those who already know you could have difficulty understanding what you’re writing to them. Research shows that employees can spend more time and cognitive energy trying to discern what their coworkers are asking them through email than they would in-person, which can also negatively affect their behavior over the course of the day.

All the more reason to keep your messaging to your prospects brief. They’ll be able to more easily digest it, understand it, and relate to it.

Here are some other tips on drafting messages that get read:

  • Limit (or remove) the humor. It’s too easy to try and crack a joke that either falls flat or inadvertently insults the other person.
  • Be direct. Don’t use highfalutin language to ask a question or get to the right person. Writing statements and questions that are simple and direct will be easy for your reader to comprehend, and will also make you appear more genuine.
  • Don’t sell. You’re trying to find the right person to have a conversation with. Giving them a sales pitch (or anything remotely close to one) will likely raise a red flag with them that they’re just part of an email blast. If you approach your prospect with the desire to have a conversation, you’ll have a better chance of getting them on the phone.

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