The First Rule of Communication: Be Nice

I got this email recently:

I would be grateful if you would let me know whether you are attending or not



That was it.


Did Roger (not his real name) mean to email me? The message made it into my inbox so I assumed so.

When I scrolled down, there was another message under that one from a few weeks before, a group email inviting me to a networking lunch that had gone out to everyone on a list.

Aha. So it was for me and this was the follow-up.

Well, nothing makes me want to spend £30 on a business lunch more than an impersonal email.

Surely if you were going to go to the effort of contacting everyone who hadn’t responded (we weren’t asked to RSVP btw) you’d use it as an opportunity to entice people to your event? Wouldn’t you??

Maybe Roger was having a bad day – or perhaps he doesn’t know that the first rule of communication is to be nice.

Here’s a quick (tongue-in-cheek) guide to email writing:

1. Say hello

I know it’s super-friendly and it will take a third of a second to type, but always start an email with a greeting – Hi/Hello/Dear xx work well.

If you’re mid-chat it’s fine to dive straight into your message (sending out a group email weeks beforehand doesn’t count as “mid-chat”).

2. Use people’s names

What’s everyone’s favourite word?

Their own name. So use it.

Just add the greeting from point 1 to someone’s name – Hi Sam, Hello Peter, Dear Julie… it’s simple but effective.

3. Social niceties

A nice comment like ‘How are you?/I hope you’re well/How are things?’ is a lovely, engaging way to start an email and shows you care.

communication copywriter nottinghamAnd by using a question, you’re giving someone a really easy way to respond if they’re not so hot at communicating.

4. Make an effort

An email is not a telegram, you don’t have to pay extra for punctuation, just a few quick jabs with the right index finger and you can hit lots of punctuation marks on your keyboard. Go on, let the person you’re emailing know they’re worth it!

Maybe even chuck in an exclamation mark one day when you’re feeling k-razee.

5. Sign off

Yeah, sure, I can look a bit further down the page and see your full name, job title and telephone numbers but you know what, it would have been really nice to have seen your name there – just your first name – as though you’d made the effort to write it and wanted to build a relationship.

And I’ll let you into a little secret, you can add it to your email signature so you don’t actually have to type it every time you send a message. Keep that one to yourself.

I sent a very friendly email in response, and Roger, if you’re reading this, PLEASE take another 10 seconds to make your emails a bit nicer.

Right then, now I’ve got that off my chest I’m off for lunch!

Anyone else had any emails recently that didn’t quite hit the spot?



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