How do you come across in your emails?
As I receive more and more requests for
assistance by email, I also get more and more
poorly worded or badly formatted emails.
When you ask someone for help, or approach
them for the first time, you will get a much
better response if you word your initial
contact carefully. Take some time to think
about what you want from the other person.
Be descriptive, many people have a lot of
things on the go at once. You may know exactly
which piece of software you just bought which
didn't work, but if the seller has 20 products,
an email saying "I couldn't download the software"
will sit on the to do pile longer than one
which states which software you bought, and what
happened when you tried to download it.
DON'T USE ALL CAPITALS in an email, it is
considered shouting and also looks a tad
unprofessional if it is your initial contact
with someone who you may wish to do business
with at a later date.
Don't demand action, request it, this is even
more important if you are asking for help or
you are referring to something which was free
in the first instance. You may think that would
be obvious, but I have personal experience
of people demanding action be taken when
something free didn't work. A simple description
of your problem, and a "please advise" will get
you much better results much faster too.
Formatting your emails can also help enormously.
Putting in your own line breaks (using the enter
key) at around 60 characters or so will make
your email easier to read.
Add some contact information at the bottom too.
It's much nicer to receive a reply from someone
using your own name, rather than just a dear sir
at the beginning, and you will get more personal
service if people at the other end of your emails
know your name. I personally like to send emails
to a person not just their email address.
These may seem like common sense to you, but take
a little time to see if you're missing any of
these little points. Your email is a communication
as much as if you were face to face with someone.
Make sure they get the impression of you, that
you'd want them to have.
Douglas Titchmarsh owns the website at
and also offers an informative newsletter
which you can subscribe to by sending an email to