Guy Kawasaki’s One Tip to Becoming The Effective E-Mailer

In my previous article “Pingdom’s 2010 Internet by the Numbers” one of the most amazing, yet easy to believe, statistics was the fact that 89.1% of all emails are spam. In many cases people send emails that are not spam but because of the subject line or length, their efforts are deleted because they appear to be spam.

Guy Kawasaki describes 13 tips to becoming the effective e-mailer in his book “Reality Check.” Although each tip is worthy of mention, one in particular is the platinum standard: Keep it Short.

Keep it Short

Instead of diluting Guy’s tip by paraphrasing or interpreting it, I am going to provide this tip verbatim:

“The ideal length for an e-mail is five sentences. The ideal content level is one idea. If you’re asking something reasonable of a reasonable recipient, simply explain who you are in one or two sentences and get to the ‘ask.’ If it’s not reasonable don’t ask at all. My theory is that people who tell their life-story suspect that their request is on shaky ground so they try to build up a case to soften up the recipient. Another very good reason to keep it short is that you never know where your e-mail will end up- anywhere from your minister to the attorney general.”

Conclusion

The most important ideas within this tip:

  • The ideal length of an e-mail is five sentences
  • The ideal content level is one idea
  • If it’s not reasonable don’t ask