The 8 words your emails need to get a reply, according to a career coach
Courtesy of Melody Wilding
- Executive coach Melody Wilding says there's an effective way to get people to reply to your emails.
- In one study, simply adding the eight-word phrase, "Thank you so much. I am very grateful" more than doubled response rates.
Nothing is more frustrating than pouring time into a well-written email only to be ghosted.
Whether you're reaching out to an influencer in an effort to build your network, pitching your services to prospective customers, or simply asking your boss a question, we pour a great deal of time and mental energy into our inboxes.
That's why it can be so discouraging to hear crickets. I'm sure you've been there before: you perseverate over every little word that goes into an email response, hit send, then proceed to constantly refresh your inbox until you hear back.
It turns out there's a very effective way to get people to reply to your emails, cutting down your stress with it.
All it takes is showing some genuine appreciation. Science shows that a dose of pro-social pleasantries may more than double the odds your request earns a response.
Just say thanks (science says so)
A study conducted by Wharton psychologists Adam Grant and Francesca Gino found that expressing gratitude increased email response rate by 66 percent. Specifically, simply adding the eight word phrase, "Thank you so much. I am very grateful" more than doubled response rates.
Why? Appreciation a powerful intrinsic motivator that spurs people to action, particularly on behalf of other people. Helping others gives us a strong self-esteem boost.
As Grant explains on Linkedin:
My least favorite emails made demands instead of expressing appreciation. One person wrote, "We should definitely meet," and another implored, "Please answer this question." In my research, I've found that people provide more extensive and useful help when it's an enjoyable choice than when it's driven by perceived pressure or obligation….The punch line: a little thanks goes a long way, not only for encouraging busy people to help you, but also for motivating them to help others like you.
Other studies have also shown that using a gratitude-charged close such as "Thanks in advance" results in a 65 percent response rate.
You can take things a step further by using what management expert, Mark Goulston calls a "Power Thank You" in his book, Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.
- Thank the person for something specific that he or she did for you.
- Acknowledge the effort they made ("I know you didn't have to do _______" or "I appreciate that you went out of your way to_______.")
- Tell the person what their gesture meant to you.
Profuse gratitude won't be the best way to end every email, but it's a good way to stand out, especially when asking for help or a favor.
Melody Wilding is an executive coach, licensed social worker, and professor of human behavior at Hunter College. Her clients include high-performing managers and leaders at places like Google, Facebook, and HP. Sign up for your free guide, "The 3-Step Workday Reset," at MelodyWilding.com.
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