by Connie Dieken

The Influential Inbox

QUESTION:

I communicate a lot of information to a lot of people by sending out regular emails. I spend a lot of time writing descriptions of what is happening and what they are supposed to do about certain situations.

Nobody ever seems to read them – or if they do, they don’t remember what I said.

These people aren’t dumb! Why can’t I get them to stay with the program and keep up with what’s going on?

ANSWER:

It’s time to think outside the in-box. Email is inefficient. It’s bloated and broken.

Today’s inboxes are clogged with cover-your-butt documentation, unread heads-ups and countless attempts to win eyeballs and influence decision-making. How can you break through this clutter to ensure that your e-mails are the ones that people look for, read and respond to? Follow the presence building ConnectConveyConvince® framework to influence.

STEP 1: CONNECT

  •  Connect with what they value.

Don’t make them find Waldo – frontload your subject lines.

The subject line is the single most important element of your email. If it strikes the receiver as relevant, it drives their decision to read and reply. Or vice-versa.

Wimpy, generic subject lines such as “FYI” or “Update” are easy to ignore. Instead, think newspaper headline. Make yours specific and significant. For example, replace “Training” with “Your Ebola Prep Monday 3pm.”

STEP 2: CONVEY

  •  Convey with portion control.

Make the content skimmable and mobile-friendly.

Most of us don’t read – we skim. And increasingly, we’re checking our email on smart phones. Smaller screens call for crisper content. Shorter sentences. More white space.

  • Use a few bullets and numbers to streamline your content.
  • This white space leads to deeper reading.
  • It counteracts the mind-numbing effect of wall-to-wall text.

STEP 3: CONVINCE

  • Convince with outcomes.

Streamline the effort required to respond and get action.

Offer your readers rapid response solutions with a sense of urgency. For example, if your ideal outcome is a “yes” or “no” reply, conclude with “Please reply with a quick “yes” or “no” by 5 pm Monday.” If the reader really values your topic, they’ll respond with even more depth.

When your communications ConnectConveyConvince®, you gain trust and influence. You become known as high performance, yet low maintenance. This is a killer combination. As a result, your presence is actually welcome in others’ inundated in-boxes.


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