Meeting people can be hard – and meeting people over the internet can be even harder. When you want to reach out to someone, it can be tough to figure out exactly what you’re going to say without rambling – and with all the random networking requests people get, your note needs to stand out. Here are a few tips to help you craft the best email intro you’ve ever written.
Figure out your specific goal
You want your message to be short and sweet, but with big impact. Before you begin to type your email, figure out the specific reason you’re sending this email. Is this a person you admire? Are you looking to learn about a new industry? Do you want to work for this company someday? Honing in on one goal will keep your writing focused and in perspective.
Avoid Generic Subject Lines
Never use an automatic subject heading, even if it does come from LinkedIn! Create an email subject line with your goal in mind. “E-Intro: Person X and Person Y”, “Getting to Know John Smith”, and “[Mutual Friend] recommended I reach out” are simple, specific headlines that will grab someone’s attention. As a bonus, it always helps to use the person’s name in the subject line. That’s something that will definitely get their attention.
Introduce yourself in one sentence
Yes, it can be done! This email should be about the person you’re reaching out to, not about you, so keep the parts about yourself simple. Give your full name and a main identifier – nothing else in that first sentence. You can use the second sentence to provide additional information as to why you’re reaching out.
Example: My name is Jane Smith and I’m an associate project manager at ABC Company, Inc. I found your email on a business card for consultation services.
Simple, but to the point. If you have met this person before, add a third sentence to the above explaining the connection. Otherwise, all additional information should stay in the next section.
Add context to your ask
Instead of immediately asking for a cup of coffee, give context as to why you’re asking. Again, this shouldn’t be longer than one sentence. Aside from being respectful of the person’s time, you don’t want to give them an opportunity to close out of your message. This is a good time to compliment the person you’re reaching out to, but be careful not to overdo it.
Example: I heard you speak at the Marketers Conference last week and as a working mom, your keynote really resonated with me.
Don’t forget to include your ask! (You’d be surprised at how often that happens.) Keep it short and simple. If you present it as something that requires a lot of effort, then your request probably won’t be met.
Example: Are you free for coffee next Tuesday? I’d love to come to your office to chat.
Example: Do you have time for a phone call this Friday? Any time within your office hours will work for me.
Each of the above examples has two parts. One – there is a simple, active ask that is relatively easy to answer. Two – the asker is showing that they will go out of their way to accommodate the person they want to connect with. This courtesy is important.
Close it out
End the note with a kind send off such as “best,””sincerely,” “thank you for your time,” then double check your message for errors (spell check is your best friend), and hit send. You’ve sent a great note, so now you can cross your fingers and hope for the best!