Publications & Products
Volume 3, Issue 3

Get Important People to Respond to Emails

Emails that are concise and show clear purpose are more likely to receive responses, says a business professor.

Adam Grant, associate professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, recently shared with LinkedIn some tips for people to write emails that generate responses from busy contacts. They include:

  • Perfect the subject line. "When people aren't busy, they're drawn in by subject lines that intrigue them," he says. "But when they're busy, curiosity fades in importance; the emails that get read are the ones with practical subject lines. When you want to grab the attention of someone important, scrap the entertaining subject lines and focus on utility."
  • Tell the contact why you chose him or her. "We know from research on social loafing that when people feel they have no unique contribution to make, they feel little responsibility to step up," Grant says. "Good emails overcome this barrier by highlighting what drew you to this person and the distinctive value that he or she can add. It's worth devoting a sentence or two to what you know about the person's work, and how it has influenced your life."
  • Make your request specific and short. "People are more helpful when they're given clear directions on how to contribute," he says.
  • Express gratitude. "I've found that people provide more extensive and useful help when it's an enjoyable choice than when it's driven by perceived pressure or obligation," Grant says. "A little thanks goes a long way, not only for encouraging busy people to help you, but also for motivating them to help others like you."

This article is from the July 15, 2013 issue.

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Creating and Sustaining Effective Chief Development Officer-Chief Financial Officer Partnerships
Nov. 14, 2013

This webinar looks at the CDO-CFO partnership as it relates to the following areas: investment in the development program, annual business planning and budgeting audit, long-term planning and investment planning.