One thing we all hear is that in business it’s important to get to the point. Which is why e-mailing strangers feels so odd. If you’re like me, the first thing you want to do when you e-mail someone new is justify your intrusion. Maybe by saying something like, “Hello! My name is Hadley and I know your aunt through my friend’s brother’s hockey team’s goalie.”
Phew! Now everyone is on the same page, right?
You feel better, but your reader is still in the dark. “Why,” they wonder, “is my aunt talking to someone who knows her friend’s brother’s hockey team’s goalie? And what does this stranger want with me?”
Really, it’s better to start with your point or question and then follow up with a small overview of how you know each other or what else you have in common. Sooooo. OK. Go. Do it!
Starting with blank screen and typing out your actual point is impossible! Unless you do this trick which is:
Write what you want to write. Start with your weird introduction and let yourself go on a tangent about hockey. Type the second paragraph, which will also be about not the point and then, right before you type “sincerely,” you will write your point.
Perfect! Now. Before you send. Take that point and put it at the top. Know you need to lead with that. FORCE yourself to lead with that. See where it takes you.
Likely to a happy place where you get yourself to the point.
See what I mean below:
(Ramble version = 115 words) Hello! My name is Hadley and I know your aunt through my friend’s brother’s hockey team’s goalie. We had a lot of fun at the hockey tournament last weekend – can you believe we got to see that classic showdown between Edina and Hill Murry? How exciting.
Anyway, I am a writer who is looking for help developing my approach to email. I often feel like I ramble, but who knows if it’s true? My hockey goalie friend mentioned to me that his friend’s brother’s aunt said you are a very good writer and could help me develop this skill. Would you be interested in meeting for coffee to discuss a writing mentorship like this?
(To the Point = 53 words) Hello! I am looking for a mentor who would be willing to meet informally to help me work on writing e-mails. Our mutual acquaintance, Nancy O’Brien, suggested I contact you because of your strength in this area. Do you have time to meet and discuss a relationship like this? Thanks for considering it!