Chapter 18


When you send e-mails, do you usually receive a useful, friendly, timely response? Or one that falls short of that ideal? Or no response at all? If you’re struggling to get your recipients to focus on your messages, it’s because you’re competing with a lot of senders—in some cases, hundreds per day.

Here’s how to write e-mails that people will actually read, answer, and act on:

  • Get straight to the point—politely, of course—in your first few sentences. Be direct when making a request. Don’t fulsomely butter up the recipient first—although a brief compliment may help (“Great interview. Thanks for sending it. May I ask a favor?”). Spell out deadlines and other details the recipient will need to get the job done right and on time. ...

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