Did you READ the email?

By: Kim Barclay

In this fast paced world and carrying our life on a mobile device, it is no wonder that information we try to convey or share isn’t often read with the attention it truly requires.  I think most of us have experienced the frustration of sending an email with important information, and have those recipients not follow directions or ask questions that were answered in the original email.

I have been struggling to find a way to politely relay to the readers, “PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL WITH YOUR FULL ATTENTION AND SCROLL ALL THE WAY DOWN!”  I think I have developed a technique over the years that seems to be working.

The titles of the subject line will start off with what I need them to do in all capitals:

NEEDS YOUR REPLY!
ACTION NEEDED!
PLEASE READ – IMPORTANT

Here is a sample of how I start an email that needs full attention:

Dear Board of Directors:
PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN ITS ENTIRETY AS IT HAS VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING…

Instead of writing paragraphs, try to use more bullet points and be straight to the point.  Bold, and highlight the text that indicates that there are attachments for their review.

In addition, give them specific instructions of what they need to do and make it stand out.  An example:

WHAT I NEED FROM YOU:

  1. B.
    C.

And finally, close the email with a finishing sentence and use “-END-“ so that reader knows they have reached the end of the email.  An example:

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you by March 15th.  –END-

I don’t think there is a “magic bullet” that will force your readers to give emails their full attention.  However basic, these few tricks seem to help emphasize the importance of the information being conveyed.

KimBarclayBio

One thought on “Did you READ the email?”

  1. Thanks for giving concrete tips about how to get attention in an email. I try to limit the use of caps because it often comes off like shouting at the recipient. But I like your suggestion of using bolding and highlighting to emphasize action items that need a thoughtful response. Thanks again for these tips.

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