Email subject lines make all the difference in getting your email read by someone else. If you want your colleague, boss or customer to read your email sooner than later you must write a subject line that catches their attention and personalizes it as well. This is the most common mistake I see in emails. Yes, I know that it’s easier to just jot a quick response to someone – not change the subject line – and then hit the submit button. But don’t be surprised if then the other person doesn’t get around to reading your email for days thinking that it is old news.
I’m sure I’m not unique when I start my work day out with rapidly scan my incoming emails for those that are first priority. A quick glance at the subject lines alert me to those that need my attention first and then those that are less urgent and can wait a bit. Sometimes there are red flags but I don’t find those as helpful as a personal note from someone I know. The subject lines give me a quick and easy way to sort through the flood of emails – on the bottom of the pile goes those emails that were forwarded and that have old subject lines. And I’m pretty ruthless about deleting all misc. and junk emails – I just have to delete, delete and delete or I will be buried within two days.
Hidden in the Email
But sometimes I’m wrong! I’ll click on an email a couple of days later to discover that it actually had something really important in it and that someone needed me to take some immediate action. I never knew it was a priority because there was no indication in the subject line. Then I feel like I’m playing catch up – or worse – I may have totally missed out on a great training, coaching or networking opportunity. And it’s a bit awkward to suggest that if only the sender had written what they needed in the subject line I could have gotten back to them much sooner.
3 Quick Tips to Get Your Email Read
So here are three quick tips to make sure your email gets read. First, change the subject line to say exactly what you need from your reader. Second, add your first name so they know who is writing them. And third, you can ask a question to make sure you get a response. An example for an email regarding an upcoming meeting could be “Mtg. Wed. Sept 7th/Can You Attend?/Kit”. And a little bit of humor is perfectly okay as well – we want the reader to always respond positively to seeing our name in their email in-box!