Whether you’re emailing friends, family or clients, knowing how to write a professional email is an extremely valuable skill. Amateur emails waste people’s time, add unnecessary stress, confusion and clutter. We’re gonna help make sure you stop doing those things RIGHT NOW.
How to Write a Professional Email
Given the sheer amount of apps, social platforms and devices vying for our time in the Distraction Economy, it’s imperative that PRO emails include the following 3 Essential Language Techniques:
- Focus Your Email’s Subject on What Your Email is About
- Get Clear About What Action You Want Them To Take
- Do Their Homework For Them!
Focus Your Email’s Subject on What Your Email is About
This one is both obvious and easy to miss so it’s a great place to start.
First the obvious: Does the SUBJECT of your email read “Christmas Gift” or “Christmas Gift Ideas for Mike”? “Meeting” or “Thursday Meeting with Angela from XYZ Company”
Basic stuff, right? We’re using specific language to focus both our mind and the reader’s mind on what exactly it is this email is about and what to expect.
Now for the less obvious:
Does the SUBJECT of your email read “Don’t Forget Kim’s Birthday” or “Remember Kim’s Birthday Party”? “Let Us Know Why You Cancelled Your Subscription” or “Let Us Know How We Can Improve”?
The key here is to frame the conversation in Affirmation from the jump – on what we WANT the person to do instead of what we DON’T WANT them to do.
Get Clear About What Action You Want Them To Take
Speaking of which, let’s move on to the message body itself. How many times has someone sent you an email (either personal or professional) with no clear instruction for what to do with it?
The best way to save people a ton of time and confusion is to state very clearly what exactly you would like someone to do when they receive your email.
PERSONAL EXAMPLE (AMATEUR)
Hey, so I was thinking that this place looked kinda nice as a dinner option for us sometime. Whaddya think?
Let this message sit for a moment. How does it make you feel? Consider the amount of thought power required to parse the true purpose of the message.
PERSONAL EXAMPLE (PRO)
This place looks great. The reviews are solid and they have a cedar plank salmon dish that has you written all over it. Let me know if you’d like to have dinner there on Saturday night and I’ll make reservations. [link goes here]
The PRO version features a clear ask. There is a time and date associated with both the event and the response, a teaser for what types of food they specialize in and a hyperlink to check out the restaurant’s menu or homepage.
More specifically the PRO version eliminates all of the Soft Talk words from the Amateur version: “I was thinking, kinda, sometime, etc”.
Imagine the benefits this Technique can provide sales and customer service reps. In fact, the sales teams we’ve worked with in the past have reported an average of 35% higher response rate in cold call emails just by cutting out Soft Talk.
You can learn all about Soft Talk and Solid Talk in our foundation course, Core Language Upgrade – Buy it here! [see, that was another example of a clear ask! ]
Do Their Homework For Them!
I’ve saved my favorite Technique for last. In fact, I feel so strongly about this technique that if it’s the one thing we do here at Procabulary that becomes a worldwide phenomenon, I’ll go to my grave a happy man.
Nod if you’ve ever received an email like this before:
To: Person I Supposedly Like
From: Person Who Is Supposedly My Friend
Subject: FWD: Link from XYZ Website
This is interesting.
[Link to 2500 word article or 90 minute YouTube documentary]
NOOOOOO! Please make it stop. This is the common, the dreaded HOMEWORK EMAIL!
Homework Email is the single greatest obstacle for Inbox Zero for most us.
It’s important to realize that when you send an email like this, you are offloading the work of articulating why and what the other person could find “interesting” on to them.
You think that you are doing them a favor when in fact you are simply introducing more clutter and responsibility. Stop this immediately. For the love of all that is holy, please stop.
To: Person I DO Like
From: Person Who IS my Friend
Subject: China Wildlife Documentary
Hi Martin, I was watching a Chinese Wildlife Documentary recently and remembered your upcoming trip. I know that the kids would love to see red pandas and since you’re going to be in Southwestern China, it would be a perfect opportunity to check them out.
There’s a link to the documentary below. It’s a four part series, the episode you’re looking for is number three, around 15 minutes in. The whole sequence is a little more than ten minutes. It details the area in which the nature preserve is located.
[Link to YouTube documentary with timestamp]
Safe Travels and look forward to seeing the pics!
See how easy that was? Instead of forwarding something with an esoteric “FWD:” Subject title, we drafted a new email with a title that would be relevant to Martin’s life.
We included a clear, personal reason why we decided to send the email in the first place. We included a timestamp, an approximation of time commitment and a clear way of finding the content. 1
If we wanted to go the extra mile we could’ve placed a link to the nature preserve itself or taken a screenshot of the red panda. Either way, we’ve done the work. We put the effort in, we have demonstrated our value as friends.
But Martin would never do that for me…! So what? You want to get back at him by practicing being an amateur? Who ultimately loses that battle? Set the tone and influence your friends to email like pros instead!
Reduce Stress + Drama, Increase Power + Happiness
These 3 techniques on how to write a professional email tie in directly with Procabulary’s primary language goals: Focus on What Matters, Increase Clarity and Upgrade Personal Power.
Thanks for reading and if you have more pro email techniques that you’d like to discuss in the comments below – let’s hear them!