Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Email subject lines can be so much more useful!

A simple shift in usage of the subject line when sending emails can make a significant difference in response and/or retrieval time, and overall efficiency with written communications.

Say you’re sending an email to a colleague requesting feedback on a document that you need to send out by the end of the day, tomorrow. Here are a few common subject lines we might see in this scenario. Which do you think is going to grab the reader’s attention and offer you what you hope to accomplish?
– Can you take a look?
– Document I mentioned
– ABC Project, your input please
– Your input requested by noon tomorrow, if possible, thx!

If someone is swamped with email, how thoughtful might it be to state the following in the subject line of an email they don’t need to open today?
– ABC Proj-for your reference next week or ABC Proj-for your file

And how about the subject line that lives on forever throughout a thread of emails that ends up evolving into varied topics or initiatives? Why not shift the subject line to reflect the current discussion? When you go to review data in an email, or if you want to identify the email from weeks or months prior (we’ve all been there, done that) you won’t have to peruse volumes of email content in order to retrieve the info you’re looking for 🙂

One last tidbit that we’re seeing more and more—You can use a subject line like a text. For example, if someone responds with a quick email and you want to say “Thanks”, or “I’ll be there, see you Mon!”, place it in the subject line and just end it with a bracketed acronym for “end of message” (eom) or “no text” (nt).

I love quick and simple tools that can save time, minimize frustration, and increase efficiency. If you try this one, you and/or your colleagues and clients will appreciate the difference.

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