Mandy Collins & Associates

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Make the bottom line the top line for emails that people actually want to read

Are people not reading your emails? It might be time to turn them upside down. Here’s how you do that.

At school we were taught to write with a nice introduction, then slowly build up to a big climax. That’s all very well, but as the old internet meme says, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Most people won’t even bother to scroll down to find your carefully crafted point.

To fix it, get to get to the bottom line first. People are short on time and patience, and often don’t read more than a line or two of their mails. You do need that nice introduction your teacher wanted, but it should contain the conclusion. Confused yet? Don’t worry. All will become clear.

Let’s say you’ve called someone to tell them about the services you offer and they’ve agreed to meet you to discuss how you might to do business together. They ask you to send an email as a follow-up, and to set up a meeting.

You could start the email by reminding them who you are, what you’re about, and end with a request for a meeting. Or you could start with the bottom line, and then give a bit of background afterwards:

Dear Joe Soap

Thanks for the chat just now. As mentioned, I’d like to come and chat to you about how we might work together in future. Our company provides services in the following areas: …

And then a small call to action:

Please let me know soonest when you might be able to meet. I am available on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon next week.

It’s really as simple as that. Get to the point, and then explain how you got there. (And if you can, do so in five sentences – tops!)

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