A couple of weeks ago I received my best email question ever.
I was the keynote speaker for Deutsche Borse’s virtual women’s global networking event, and the questions came thick and fast from women all over the world:
- How do you deal with aggressive emails?
- How do you get people to reply first time?
- What about cultural differences?
- What makes a great subject line?
- How do you deal with reply all?
But my favourite one was right at the end of the session. A brilliant woman stood up and asked what everyone was thinking:
‘How do I stop other people sending me rubbish emails?’
It stopped me in my tracks.
And (don’t laugh) I quoted Gandhi in response: ‘Be the change you want to see.’
Now there’s a small chance that Gandhi might not have been thinking about emails when he said this. (Although I hear he was a huge fan of my book.)
But the idea still applies.
If you send friendly emails with some personal information about your weekend/kids/side hustle making organic guinea pig feed, other people are more likely to do the same. (Be careful what you wish for.)
If you send pithy lists of bulleted actions, people will often imitate this approach.
If you send clarifying questions, other people will feel more able to reciprocate.
Great emails are contagious.
Start with yours.