Last week if you remember we talked about email writing where I explained and even showed how to write a professional email easily and quickly.
Today, I am going to continue that article and share with some of the tactics I use to make people open my email, read it to the end and then reply me (even after a month).
Are you ready? Let’s go!
1. Be professional
This basically means that when you write an email at your college, university, work or business you should always use some kind of email format or template. We will look at the sample email format I used when I contacted italki.com in July this year at the end of this post.
Moreover, when you write, remember to read what you write one more time to make sure it is clear to understand, free from grammar, spelling and punctuations mistakes. Next, pay attention that you start your email properly.
If the person you write to is a woman, start by saying ‘Dear Ms. Johnson,’ – for a woman (if complete stranger or senior) and ‘Dear Mr. Johnson,’ – for a man (if complete stranger or senior). If you don’t know the person just write “Dear Sir/Madam,”
Finally, don’t forget to close your email by saying ‘Kind regards’, or ‘Sincerely yours’. I always use ‘Kind regards’ because it sounds more neutral meaning that I am not being too friendly and too alien to the person.
2. Show respect
When you email somebody, one thing you should really carefully do is asking questions. Ask openly but indirectly. Remember that in the Western culture being indirect means being polite and showing respect.
This is especially true if the person you are writing to is British. Now you might be wondering how you can do it. Right? So let’s analyze some sentences together.
Don’t say: “Can we meet next week?” (It is a direct question)
Say: “I was wondering if we could meet next week if you have any free time.” (It is an indirect question)
Don’t say: “I need a recommendation letter. Can you write for me?” (It is a direct question)
Say: “I was applying for … program this week and if you are not too busy, may I ask you to write a recommendation for me.” (It is an indirect question)
3. But avoid begging
Ask question indirectly but at the same time don’t end up sounding too polite. Otherwise, you sound as if you are begging. And if the person you have written to feels it somehow, you may never hear from him/her ever again in your life.
But how should you write if you don’t want to sound like you are begging? For example, if a person rejects your request, don’t reply rudely. Instead, thank the person for taking his/her time to read and respond to your email. Finally, as I said above, don’t sound too polite.
Watch your language!
For example, let’s suppose you want to meet with a person Mr. X.
You wrote: “I was wondering if we could meet next week if you have any free time” This is enough.
Don’t say: “I was wondering if we could meet next week if you have any free time. If not, I would also be honored if you could please be so kind and let me know when you will be free”. This is flattering.
Instead, you can write like this: “I was wondering if we could meet next week if you have any free time. If not, could you please suggest a suitable time yourself?”
4. Write effective subject line
A subject line is a very first thing you should pay attention to when writing an email. It is what your recipient will see next to your name when he/she opens his/her email inbox. My advice: Firstly, never write your subject line with capital letters because this will make you look like a spammer or scammer.
The person you write to will not open your email or your email will go straightly to his/her Spam box. Next, spend time creating your subject line. Usually, the subject lines that say “Hi”, “Hello”, “How are you?” and etc don’t look good.
Finally, make sure everything that you write in your email matches with your subject line. For example, don’t write in your subject like “I am interested in your services” and then start talking about something different in your email.
5. Never push
Never and ever push the person to act urgently putting your request in his/her priority list. This is too rude, selfish and disrespectful. If you need a recommendation letter from a person, you must give him/her at least two weeks. Why? Because he/she is as busy as you are.
Tell me why the person should stop doing everything that he/she is doing now and start working on your request? Why? You need a help, shift the focus from yourself to the person whose help you need.
Don’t write in your letter “I was wondering if you could write a letter of recommendation for me. The deadline is tomorrow and can you write today?” This is too rude and the chances are the person will not reply you at all or reject your request.
So that’s why always plan ahead and approach the people as early as possible so that they don’t suffer because of your request.
Now let’s analyze my email that I sent to italki.com in July 2015. italki.com is an educational technology website that helps foreign language learners connect with online teachers and native-speaking language partners.
The email I wrote is quite lengthy because I contacted them with a quite serious request. Not every day you can publish your article on one of the most popular blogs in the World Wide Web.
Otherwise, if you write an email because you want to meet with a person, or need his/her help, you should write short emails. Shorter is better.
They replied me after about a month and I began working on my guest article. On 11 September, 2015 italki.com published my article. You can see their reply message below and if you wish to read my article please click here.
Thank you very much for mentioning us and preparing an article we can post.
Can you please forward this piece to me directly so I can expedite the placement timeline for the article?
About the author
My name is Akmal. I’m an English language enthusiast, blogger, writer and entrepreneur. In addition to being the founder of English Club Pro I’m also a teacher of English with more than 10 years experience. I love helping aspiring English learners to master their English. Like English Club Pro on Facebook.