Working in Norway
When teaching presentation technique to business college students a number of years ago, we focused on trying to get them to give an interesting opening that would capture the listeners’ attention.
They were advised to try one of three:
Some students were lucky because choosing and using one of the three came naturally to them. Others struggled to the point where they dropped this opening altogether, instead just launching the main body of their talk.
But the ones who’d figured out how to grab attention got it and held onto it throughout the 5-7 minutes they had to say what they were going to say.
The same idea applies to writing work e-mails.
Use one of the first two points listed above to capture the reader’s attention (as you might imagine this is no place to tell an anecdote, no matter how brief).
Think of your subject line as the opening to a written presentation (or body of your e-mail).
Make the most of your opportunity, which happens when the reader glances at the Sender (wondering, “Who sent this?”) and Subject (wondering, “What do they want?”). Be as specific as possible:
You can even write a question/statement in the middle of a thread (back-and-forth conversation). I often do this if I feel the need to redirect my reader’s focus to a new and important point.
We’ve all been caught up in the flood of digital communication, which unfortunately includes getting far too many e-mails dropping into our inboxes on any given workday.
But if you try this quick tip next time you send your own work e-mail, and you’ll have a greater chance of getting a quick response.