These days, one of our most important writing skills is the ability to draft a short ï¿½subject lineï¿½ for our emails.ï¿½ So it amazes me how carelessly many people approach the task.ï¿½ But it matters ï¿½ because we get so much email.ï¿½ So your email in my inbox is competing with so many others to get read.
And before you say: ï¿½but most people read all of their emailsï¿½ consider this: have you ever accidentally skipped an email on a busy day and not found it until you tidied your inbox days or weeks later?ï¿½ I know I have.ï¿½ Your subject line needs to grab my attention and compel me to open it.
Here are some tips:
- Make it clear who the email is from ï¿½ especially if your email address will be unfamiliar to me
- Keep it brief ï¿½ but not at the cost of obscuring the message.ï¿½ Your subject must let me know what your message is about
- If itï¿½s urgent say soï¿½ – but only if it really is.ï¿½ If you get a reputation (which will stick after one or two slips) for claiming fake urgency, youï¿½ll never lose it
- Hyperbole (grossly exaggerated statements) will make your email look like spam
- ï¿½Show me the moneyï¿½ ï¿½ use your subject line to demonstrate why I should read your email
- ï¿½ or at least get me curious
7.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Write it so it means something to me ï¿½ rather than to you
I thought of writing this when I got an email from someone whose name I did not recognise, with my home address as the subject line.ï¿½ I immediately sniffed spam or phishing.ï¿½ Actually it was neither: it was a quotation for some repair work that we need and I was waiting for it.ï¿½ To the administrator in the office, my address made it easy to file her email to me.ï¿½ To me, it failed to tell me who it was from, what it contained, why I should read it ï¿½ or even trust it, or how urgent it was (very).