Read the last few emails you've sent to people you're trying to connect with. Did you say the same thing every time? Is 40% of of what you wrote jargon? Do you sound like a robot?
I answered "yes" to most of those questions not too long ago. But then I tried something that I'd like to recommend here.
Forget those emails for a moment. Instead, read any of the past three emails you've wrote to friends.
Did you say the same thing every time? Is 40% of it jargon? Did it sound robotic?
I spent years trying to sound like a professional, a CEO, a boss, trying to impress the people I was trying to learn from, sell to, or try to bring into my network. My emails sounded kind of like this:
I saw you signed up for Appcues, so I took some time to check our your product. Sandbox looks really great.
We're in the process of planning a new feature. Appcues is relatively new on the market but we think we'll be making a big splash soon. We would love to get your insight on how you planned the onboarding for Sandbox.
Would you have 10 minutes on your calendar so we can exchange insights?
But then when I was reading through my personal correspondences, I thought ... hey, that email was not annoying to read. Why don't my business emails ever come off that way?
Since then, I've been trying two things:
1. Being myself - I consider myself a nice and thoughtful guy.
2. Being straightforward.
It's working at an alarming rate - my replies on connect emails are now over 50%.
That's nice. Here's an example email I sent --
How's it going man? I saw you signed up for Appcues so I checked out your site. It looks like you are trying to save my cell phone battery while I'm working and my friends are taking about something nonsensical. Or is it that you're trying to help me hear what all the talking heads are saying about an overtime game in the NBA, without having to check Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook?
Sandbox looks sleek.
We're in the process of planning a new feature and could really use feedback from someone with a mobile app they are growing. Would you have 10 minutes to share what it has been like planning the onboarding for your mobile app? I promise to take care of you in return.
What do you think, do you have 10 minutes early next week?
Clearly, using my personality paid off -- a little effort went a long way. If you decide to try infusing your emails with your personality, I'd love to hear the results!
Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.