Once you decide that sending an email is the most effective way to make a request for action, share information or delegate a part of a project, create a strong and complete subject line.
How many times have you received an email subject line that said something like:
Now, the tendency *most* people have is to look at that subject (maybe) open the email to see what's there, and then just ask quickly close the mail and then:
A. File it
B. Mark it Unread
C. Flag it for later action
(Did I miss an option? Let me know in the comment area below.)
The Subject line is the first and best opportunity we have to grab their attention. In fact, for an experiment consider writing the Subject line LAST over the next few dozen emails. Go ahead and write the Body of the email, complete with bullet points and/or attachments. Then read what you wrote with these questions in mind:
3. By When
4. Now What
Then, consider answering those questions in the subject line of the email. Something like:
There are just a few things we can do on "this side" of productivity to engage the recipient and get them to open, act on and follow up on the messages we send:
+ Sender: Who are we, in the larger scope of priority?
+ Priority level: Sure, we can mark things as High Priority. But, does it really make a difference?
+ Subject line: Are we asking them to Think, Do or File?
The Subject line is perhaps the most often overlooked element to sending an email that "just might" get someone's attention. It is the line that makes people decide whether they'll delete it immediately, save it for later, open it right away or file it away in some folder in their system.
Choose your subject (very) carefully. Experiment with this over the next few weeks, and see what happens. And, as you're processing the email people send to YOU, ask this question:
"Does the subject line make me want to read on?"