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Interesting, Personal Development

Read my email or Else! – 1 of 2

Don’t you just love it when you send out email, seemingly important to you, however it seems that the recipient has no concern for your timeline and is just ignoring your email, or you really want to ask for advice, but you fear that the recipient might not care enough about you as a stranger to respond. You have the power to change that.Watch The Channel (2016) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

According to Adam Grant, professor at University of Pennsylvania, there are six basic steps to get your email read, and get the desired response. After writing his first book, he was faced with the daunting task of asking some of the industry leaders and best selling authors whether they would endorse his book. His inspiration was met after an article about his work ran in the New York times, resulting in a flood of emails in his inbox, this gave him the first hand experience into the psychology of  email response. He realised that he was more inclined to respond to some emails than others. He then analysed the differences and found the following 6 key factors that attracted him to a call to action.

  1. Perfect the subject line
  2. Tell the reader why they were chosen to receive the email
  3. Show that you have done your homework
  4. Highlight uncommon commonalities
  5. Be specific with your request
  6. Express gratitude

Perfect the subject line; your subject line should create curiosity or provide something useful, People will be attracted to subject lines that intrigue them. How many of you are reading this article because the subject line intrigued you? “or Else!” or Else what? The power of the subject line is obvious. Remember that these people are busy and you are competing for their time. Here are some effective examples:

  • Advice for a fellow people-person
  • I do not want anything from you
  • Your book kept me up all night
  • I will fly up and see you; you interest me
  • Can you help give away 4 million dollars a year?
    • The first line in the content was: I know the subject sounds like something you’d get from Nigeria, but…

Now that you have the readers attention, make the content count.

Tell the reader why they were chosen to receive the email; Don’t just fly away into the email and start asking for advice, first tell the reader why they are the right person to help. If your call to action is to vague, people will feel that they have no unique contribution to make, and thus they will feel very little responsibility to step up. Highlight what drew you to that person, highlight what you know about the persons work and how it influenced your life, specifically distinctive value they can add, speeches they had given, books or blogs they had written.

Show that you have done your homework; Studies have found that people are more motivated to help those who try to help themselves. Explicitly state what you have already done to get the answers or to help yourself. Do not ask for an answer that you could have found on Google in 20 seconds.

Highlight uncommon commonalities; Psychologist Robert Cialdini, stated that “Similarity literally draws people together.” Studies have found that rare similarities form the strongest bonds and generally lead to higher levels of reciprocation. For example, stating that you attended the same high-school, might be a bit vague, cause thousands of people might have attended that same school, but stating that you had been part of the much more rare magician club would raise much more interest, and the reader would hardly be able to avoid the feeling of affinity.

Be specific with your request; keep it short sweet and simple. Avoid writing a mini novel, the reader already has a stringent schedule, they will be less patient to your email if it requires allot of reading. People are more likely to help if they are given clear directions on how to contribute. Ask one simple to answer thought provoking question. This goal of this email will be to start a conversation that will provoke future more detailed responses.

Express gratitude; Research has found that people are more likely to respond with more detailed and helpful feedback, when it is an enjoyable choice, rather than being perceived as obligation. Avoid commanding the reader with words to the likes of “Promptly, Now, Should”. Once you have received your response, irrespective of the content, reply with an email that expresses appreciation. Avoiding appreciation, will surely reduce the recipients desire to be helpful in future. In an experiment, a student requested help from a general group of people with regards to a problem, after receiving the responses, the student responded with:
“I just wanted to let you know that I received your feedback on my cover letter,” and asked for help with another one in the next three days. Only 32% of the people helped again. When the student added just eight words: “Thank you so much! I am really grateful” the rate of helping again doubled to 66%. In a similar study, the rate increased from 25% – 55%.
“a little thanks goes a long way” –  Adam Grant

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