I get a ton of emails from people, non-profits talking about an issue they’ve been working on, or about a new project they’ve just started. While at the outset it is a great strategy to email your network about the same - where these organizations fail is the length of the email.
Good communicators know well that lean, vibrant writing is any day better than verbose rambled commentary.
When you send an incredibly long email, you leave very little space for your call to action, or for the person at the receiving end to respond back on time - or respond at all, for that matter.
I am sure all of the content in that email is extremely important - but you need to understand that long emails represent failure of communication - unless they are the only way in.
But here’s a rule: A long email is never necessary. NEVER!
No matter how you use email, or for whatever purpose, no one you’re emailing wants to read long emails - they are long, they take too much of the reader’s time, you don’t get to the point, you ask too many questions, I won’t respond.
Email Rule #1: Keep your email to 5 sentences.
I know you just said “Are you crazy!!!??!?!11 I have so much to tell” but trust me, keep it to 5 sentences and see how things roll in your favour - how you start getting responses and how your call to action becomes more effective.
How do you achieve a 5 sentence email - stick to the following questions:
1) Who are you?
2) What do you want?
3) Why should you get it?
4) When do you need them to act? — in this order.
Email rule #2: Figure out, and stick to your main agenda.
Best way to figure this out is to understand whether you need more than 5 sentences to complete your email or not. If you do, then you haven’t figured out your agenda.
Email rule #3: No more than one question.
Ask only one question. Don’t fluster the person with multiple answers that s/he might have to give.
Email rule #4: Link it. If there is much much more information you need the reader to know, then add a link to it on the web. Make sure your email is concise and effective to get them to your link.
If you do not have a place to put information on the web to link up to - go get a blog or put it up on your website - if you don’t have one - get one.
Email rule #5: The best way to learn how to write short emails is to become an active user of Twitter. Twitter gives you lesser space, thus you have to work harder to prioritize your thoughts.