I have a confession to make. I don’t read your emails. Everyday you send me dozens of missives, and all these electronic epistles do make me feel truly special. However, they don’t make me feel like reading them.
I actually open almost all of my emails. Very few emails go straight to the trash unopened. But opening is not reading. Usually I’ll open your email, and I’ll stare at it for about two or three seconds. If you don’t inspire me, I’ll move on to the next one without reading. Usually, that next one fails to inspire me too. I can go days before I find an email worth reading.
These opened and unread emails can hangout in my inbox for a week or two. Eventually I’ll go through and delete them all en masse. I then feel less guilty about not reading them because they aren’t staring at me anymore. I justify the deletion because after two weeks of not reading them, I figure that all opportunity for action has passed.
Are you wondering why I don’t read your emails? Well, chances are your emails have one or more of these problems.
1. You send me emails that actually don’t have anything to do with me. Before you add my name to an address line, make sure that I really need to receive that email. Do I have to repeat the entire story about the boy who cried wolf?
2. Your emails are too long. Save the purple prose for your blog. If your email is less than a hundred words, then I might give it a try. Every word after that drastically reduces your chances of getting read. I’m too busy. I’ve lots of other emails that need to be opened and ignored.
3. You bury your email’s point. This problem usually goes hand in hand with being too long. Just tell me why you’re writing. I’m ready. I’ve already braced myself. I’ve opened your email, expecting the worst, but you won’t tell me what you want. You’re trying to ease into it by asking after my health. Just tell me. Don’t prattle on for four hundred words and then include the only important bit of information in the second to last sentence.
4. Your subject line doesn’t include the subject. This is another form of burying your point. Put your point in the subject line; don’t just write “Hey.” It’s called a “subject line” because you can use it to tell me what the email is about. I like that.
5. You email me too often. Don’t be so needy. I need some time to recover from your last email. Nothing causes the eyes to glaze over faster than opening the inbox and seeing multiple emails from the same sender.
I know that I’ve been a bit harsh, but don’t take it the wrong way. I really do enjoy getting emails from you. Keep sending them. But if you want me to read them, then you might have to change some things.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to empty my inbox.