I process email for a living, or at least it seems that way most of the time.
Hundreds of new messages arrive on a daily basis, some of them so dull and uninformative they make me want to go find a pencil and jam it into my spleen. Others start with something a little juicier, a little more attention-grabbing, and a little more helpful. And, when the message starts off with an interesting phrase, it usually means the rest of the email is worth reading all the way to the end.
Try these lead-ins when what you really need is response, not a bunch of crickets chirping on the other end.
1. “Good news...”
Everyone likes to read about good news. Why not let your recipient know you are the bearer of it right away? As they say in journalism, don’t bury the lead.
2. “I have an answer for you...”
Go ahead and lead with a confirmation that you have found the answer. Maybe it dates back to our days in grade school, but we all perk up a bit when someone has answers.
3. “I’ll be honest with you...”
This phrase implies that you are going to get right to the point and won’t hold anything back. It’s helpful because too much opening chatter can confuse people.
4. “We have lift off...”
Apart from the fact that I like any space-related terminology, this opening phrase is positive and a good precursor to any explanation about a project or business endeavor.
It’s an old-school tactic, and make sure what you are about to say is actually a pressing matter, but leading with the word “urgent” can nudge someone into paying attention.
6. “Let me start with an apology...”
This one works on me because it’s probably going to be a little juicy. It also lets the recipient know the message is not about his or her screw-up. It’s about yours.
7. “Your day is about to improve...”
I’m guessing there are hundreds of ways to relay positive information, and this is one of my favorites. Work can be tedious, so if a message promises to improve it, that’s a good thing.
8. “I’ve completed my research for you...”
If you use this phrase, I’ll pay attention because I know the email is going to give me good information, it will probably get right to the point, and it will be helpful.
9. “The rumors are true...”
You might think, what rumors? But that’s a good thing. You are hinting that something special and worthwhile has spread around and now you are confirming it.
10. “Just getting back to you...”
It’s a simple technique and maybe overused, but it works. My first thought is, getting back to me about what? Oh—that thing I was really waiting to hear about!
OK, now try using them on someone and let me know if they worked.
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