In the world of work, it's essential to establish contacts but time is more precious than ever: it's harder to come by people willing to give it freely to a stranger. These five tips for contacting people and responding to all those who are tired of unidirectional or unproductive communication through social networks, email, forums, and telephone.
1. Know who you're writing to and tailor emails to them
"It may seem obvious stating that every email needs to be tailored to the recipient with a personalized and holistic approach, yet we still believe in and rely on standardized templates that just don't work."
2. Use an appropriate level of formality
"Once you know who you're writing to, you can figure out the level of formality needed to really resonate with that person. You need to choose your words carefully and encapsulate this in the first two sentences of the email — if you don't achieve this effectively, the recipient will immediately stop reading."
3. Be empathic
"Particularly when you're the one initiating contact, you need to make the person you're addressing feel as though you're working hand-in-hand with them — not like you're trying to get something out of them. People aren't dim and the moment they catch a whiff of you being 'after' something, they'll switch off and close the window."
4. Respond quickly
"Does time make a difference in online communication? Absolutely — the time that elapses between a message and its response can determine how much the recipient considers the message — or even the sender — to be a priority. It's also indicative of our character and how much effort we're willing to make to communicate effectively.
5. Write correctly and concisely
"The last tip should probably have been the first one but I left it until the end as it's something we can all control: write correctly, be rigorous with your grammar and stringent with spelling mistakes, and above all, be as concise as possible. The number of times I've had to apologize at the start of an email for not having had the time to cut it down!"