February 18, 2008

Rounding up the usual subjects

When I'm sorting through the messages in my inbox—more than 100 per day, not counting spam—I'm dismayed by how many of them have non-descriptive subject lines or, worse, no subject line at all.

Tip: Write detailed subject lines. People who receive many messages each hour scan the list of subject lines and respond first to those that look most important.

For example, if you have a deal worth $20 million in the works, don’t ask for your supervisor’s input with a message headed “FYI – need input.” Send a message that says “Potential $20 millon deal - need your advice.”

This is doubly important if you are e-mailing a member of the press and expect to be noticed. A message with the subject line "Local firm signs $20 million deal" will get read before one with the subject line "press release."

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