These days’ formal face-to-face introductions are sadly, few and far between. Email greetings and virtual meetings are taking over which can be awkward because you’re relying solely on your typed words to make a great first impression.
Some people are too formal with the language they choose while other people get a little too comfortable as if they were meeting for a drink at the bar with an old friend. There has to be some middle ground so that the person reading your email feels connected, almost as if they had just shaken your hand and met you in person, yet not like they know your deepest secrets.
They should also have a good idea of why you’re emailing them. Your email has to be clear and assertive because you don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
How do you get that conversational tone so that you come across as professional, yet approachable but not overly friendly? We have some tips to help you strike that perfect balance.
Make Your Subject Line Clear
Your subject line should give the recipient a clear idea of why you’re reaching out to them and pique their interest to want to read more. Many people scan their inboxes before actually reading their emails. If they see an intriguing subject line that’s also concise, they’re likely to read it sooner rather than later.
A short subject line under 30 characters (if possible) is usually a good idea. You also want to make it catchy so it doesn’t end up in the trash even before it’s opened. If you can incorporate the recipient’s name in the subject line that’s always a plus.
Use the Right Opening
You want to address the recipient properly. Some people feel a “Dear Mr. or Mrs.” is appropriate, while others settle for a “Hello Mr. Smith or Hello John”. Either one of these can work, but the “dear” is often seen as formal. Be sure to avoid “to whom it may concern”. That’s a big no-no because it screams generic opening or even worse, that you don’t even know who you’re trying to reach. Always use names. It will at least show that you’ve done your homework.
Be Clear with Your Intent
The reader should know why you’ve emailed them after they’ve read the first sentence. If you’ve been clear with your intent, they’ll know who’s emailing them and why. If possible, also make your opening about them. If you’re emailing about a job opportunity you don’t want to go with the stale and standard intro of who you are and your credentials. Instead, let them know you’ve seen the job listing and that you’re eager to use your skills at their amazing company. It gets your point across clearly and intriguingly. They’ll likely want to know what types of skills you can bring to the table, not just the degree that’s hanging on your wall. Plus, you’ve also given their company a positive plug.
Use a Conversational Tone
When some people email about a job opportunity or something else, they pull out words they would never use in a normal conversation. You would never say that you want to converse with someone more about a job. You would use the word talk, so you should use it in an email as well.
If you use words that are not conversational, the reader is going to pick up on them and wonder who the real person is that’s writing the email. You want to sound like yourself so use words you normally would in conversation.
Offer Them Something
While you’re clearly writing because you want something, you can also offer the recipient something at the same time. A quick compliment or sharing some knowledge they may find interesting or a link to something fascinating is a nice touch. You don’t want to wait until they reply to make the offer because they may not!
End with a Bang
While you want to thank the reader for their time, you also don’t want your little meeting to end there. You want to end with an open invitation to keep the lines of communication going. Instead of asking someone to just look at your resume, ask them for a meeting after they’ve read it. This still asks them to look at it but opens the door to communication more.
If you want them to call you, give them your number. If you want to schedule a meeting, you can provide a link to an online booking system with that information. Don’t think that you’re being pushy. You simply know what you want and are ready to go after it.
Email introductions can be effective and not awkward when they’re written correctly. This means using appropriate words, making your intentions clear from the start, and being conversational. You also want to be concise because no one has time to read lengthy emails. Be sure to end your email on a positive note with an open invitation to talk about your intent more. You don’t want your introductory email to be your last. Following these tips should keep your email in the inbox and out of the trash.
I coach leaders on how to effectively communicate and get what they want. Call me if you would like to learn more. Patti Larson, CEO SunUp Group, Inc. @ 949.525.5602