Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to Get Past Voicemail & Email

1. Create interest fast. You have seven words in the subject line of your email to get it opened, one sentence to get it scanned and two sentences to get it read. You have to jump into the middle of the issue from the start.  A way to think about this technique is like a TV or film editor: Let's say you can start the scene with the character getting out of the car, or on the sidewalk, or at the front door ... or with the moment the front door opens. Most modern shows start the scene at the door opening–because that is when the action starts. Leave out the preamble in an email or voicemail and go straight to the issue so that the person doesn’t “save you for later.”

2. Create urgency for response. A number of things can create a reason for speed: the author, an expiration moment on a decision, or even a “negative option” that lets the recipient know that if you do not receive a response by a certain time you will be moving forward with a course of action. Too often people send out communication without a sense of timeliness of when a response is needed. The receiver puts the communication into “things to do later” and later never comes.

3. Make bite-size decision or action requests. Voicemail and email are good for an action request, but not for laying out detailed plans. When you reach a digital demon, don’t tell a story; make a clear ask for a clear reason in a specific time frame.  This has a much greater chance of being understood and acted upon than a string of requests and actions left in a message.

4. Leave context for later. In the same vein, do not leave long stories to provide context for your request. We have all received the three-minute story voicemail explaining all of the issues around the point being made. It is better to state what you need and offer to explain the particulars and details when you connect.

Taking this approach gives you one added benefit: a reputation among your contacts for fast, action-0riented messages. This increases the likelihood that your message gets first attention.

* Originally written by Tom Searcy
*I will add, don’t become pressure sellers unless that's what you want. Plus, don’t abuse it - me

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