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Emailing Effectively

Subject Lines That Get Your Email Opened
(part 1)


The subject line often determines whether your reader will open your email. It needs to show the reader “what’s in it for him” to make him want to open the email. Here are the first five of ten tips from the Worktalk Email training that will help you write subject lines that do the job.
  1. Use the Three Ps to hook the reader’s attention.
The Three Ps are purpose, person, and point. Before you write, ask yourself, “What is my purpose? Am I informing, persuading, or requesting?” Then analyze your reader and consider your reader’s inner questions. Most readers are asking themselves, "So what?" and "What am I supposed to do about it?" Finally, clarify your point before you start to write. This will keep you from rambling.
  1. Change the subject line when you change the subject.
People rely on subject lines to help them keep track of topics. If you change the topic three emails down in an email chain, you or your colleague will be hard pressed to pick up the thread. When you are trying to retrace the history of the agreement, you will be lost. Just start a new email or subject line when you change the subject. Remember, it’s free!
  1. Never leave the subject line blank.
In my email training sessions, I have met many people who automatically delete emails with blank subject lines. Either they figure it is spam, or they are so annoyed that the writer did not respect them enough to take a few moments to state the subject of the email, that they are just not interested.
That position may be extreme, but leaving the subject line is a mistake for one important reason: It squanders your opportunity to hook your reader’s attention. Always write something.
  1. Be straightforward, not witty or cute.
The days of cute subject lines are over. Cute, witty emails are likely to backfire. Readers are overwhelmed with email, and they just want to know what you are talking about. This leads us to…
  1. Give the essential message.
If you use the Three Ps, you will succeed at giving your essential message. Are you requesting action? Say so, and name the action. Are you sharing a topic of crucial interest? State it in terms that will resonate with your reader. Do you just want to confirm a lunch date? Just state your point.
Sharing the essential message in the subject line enables your reader to make an informed decision about whether and when to open your email.

In next month’s Writamin, we will cover the rest of the Ten Tips. In the meantime, let me know how these tips worked for you. You can reach me atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I promise not to judge your subject line, but if you want feedback on it, just say so.

  © Elizabeth Danziger 2015  


Worktalk’s Email Training

  This program has evolved into a three-hour, interactive workshop in which participants to plan an email, write a subject line, and draft the first few lines of the email, all with the guidance of the instructor. The ten principles of effective email are covered thoroughly, with ample time for practice and questions.Fast-paced, practical information shows participants how to use email wisely, correctly, and productively. The program includes 30 days of followup questions for all participants.

Contact Liz Danziger today to learn how you can bring this email training to your business. (310) 396-8303 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Read Writamins on these topics:

Why choose WorkTalk trainings?

  • Taught by a professional writer. +

    These courses are not taught by a general skills trainer who happens to teach writing. Elizabeth Danziger has been published by major publishing houses such as Random House and Harcourt Brace. Her work has appeared in many national magazines. She is an expert writer and editor who brings her knowledge as a resource to participants.
  • Customized. +

    Every Worktalk training is customized to the client's needs. We meet with you, analyze writing samples from your organization, and customize our training to target the specific challenges that employees in your organization face.
  • Energetic and entertaining. +

    With plenty of exercises and opportunities for interaction, the Worktalk trainings move quickly. Subjects that were terrifying in grammar school become fun and interesting in these outstanding programs.
  • Proven results. +

    In trainings all over the country, Ms. Danziger has enabled participants to streamline their organizing process, eliminate persistent errors, and drastically cut their revision time. Clients spend less time on key communications while producing better relationships and results. Sales people get more positive responses from prospects.
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