Tag Archives: Langauge

More From The Big File o’ Misfit Emails

“Example is always more efficacious than precept.” Samuel Johnson

I recently had an email forwarded to me that promised to help “bust through the inbox clutter of busy people you want to connect with. Use these techniques to write messages that garner responses.” The rather long email went on to describe these techniques, all of which made sense. Except that the email they sent didn’t use any of them.

With that in mind, and in the spirit of old Sammy, here are some further examples of actual emails that serve as a warning to all of us.

First up, how to start off slow then peter out all together:

Big 1

This starts with double salutations: “Hi” and “Good Morning” (the latter capitalized and followed by a comma instead of a period), then follows with one of the great lines of all time. Might just have well have written “I AM going to waste your time, but not much of it.” After that dubious beginning, the second paragraph is filled with vague words: “leading”, “relevant” and “better”.

Next up, an email filled with excitement…and no writing skills:

Big 2

This was sent to an individual woman, so “Hi Guys!” goes sideways right off the bat. And the exclamation point doesn’t help. The breezy and informal tone continues in the first sentence, which could use a few commas. Then the sender launches into an animated description of their offering. One problem: the recipient is not in the restaurant or bar business. Even the exhilarating promise of “LED displays and bottle Glorifiers” (whatever those are) is not going to lead to a positive response.

And up last, a whiff of desperation:

Big 3

This poor sap is clearly suffering due to the lack of response to the previous email. His longing for connection is clear from the opening sentence right through to his inability to end the email with one specific sentence.

Again, all three of these beg the question: Why would I want to do business with you?

Every email sends two messages: the one you’re intending, and the one the recipient infers. The words, the punctuation, the flow, the tone…all contribute to the overall impression you are providing.

Take some time and care to make it a good one.

Next Time: Ideas for Better Emails


Today’s Fact Cetera

70% of US Internet users prefer email as the method of communication for business-related matters.


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Common Email Mistake #5: Ending on a Low Note

“Everything you want is out there, waiting for you to ask.” Jules Renard

Emails that start out poorly often end the same way. As the recipient, you either aren’t clear on the Purpose or aren’t compelled to respond. It’s the same as writing “Move This To The Trash Immediately” in the Subject Line.

Countless emails are sent every day that do not ask for anything specific or suggest a clear action step. Ending your message without a clear and specific request reduces your chance of success to near zero.

Here are some examples of poor endings, as always, from real emails:

Low Note 1

I’ll bet you do! If only wishes made it so…

Low Note 2

A request is always better than a question. The sender might have written, “Please let me know your availability this week for a 15 minute call.”

Low Note 3

I’m confused. What if I don’t need more information? Does that mean we can’t discuss further steps?

Low Note 4

Oh, brother. Where to start? As a first contact with the recipient, this sets a very interesting (i.e., troublesome) tone. “Share some love”? “Pretty please with sugar on top?” If you’re inviting me to Sadie Hawkins, this might…and I stress “might”…be appropriate. But to expose my community of followers to you? Oh, I don’t think so. And when you ask a closed-ended question – one that be answered “yes” or “no” – you will likely get “No”. Or no response at all.


Low Note 5

This starts off with a rather non-specific statement of what the sender wants, but any potential meaning gets lost in the detail of what will happen next. Without a clear and specific request at the end, this may not get the desired response. And by the way, this was an internal email from the Communications department. Oh, my.

If you’ve ever wondered why you’re not getting a response from an email, it’s probably because you didn’t specifically ask for one. If you don’t know what you want the recipient to do, you’re better off not sending the email at all. If you do, make sure you make the request clearly and concisely.

Bear this in mind: If you ask for nothing in particular, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Next Time: More Dismal Emails


Today’s Fact Cetera

The second week of June is National Email Week.

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