Keep networking e-mails short

What’s the one comment you hear from people about e-mails? Typically, it’s about how many they get, that they just can’t keep up and about how much time they spend deleting. Now, you might think if you are in a networking group or have met somebody at a networking gathering that they will give your e-mail a bit more attention. Think again.

Typically, people will read the subject line and perhaps the preview pane if using Outlook. If it’s not something they are actually looking for or something they really want to read, they will click delete.

For those of you still reading, thank you. The reason you will be glad you did is the tip here is to keep your networking e-mails short—one, two, three paragraphs at the most. Don’t do a cut-and-paste of your company’s annual report. If you want to provide more information, offer a link. But if you want to establish a relationship, it’s not going to happen in one e-mail.

E-mails are really a tool to help start and continue a relationship. For example, it’s cool to e-mail an invite for a one-on-one and then a thank you for the one-on-one. It’s also fine to send a link to an article or potential prospect’s website that you think might be of interest. Yet don’t make the e-mail do most of the work.

Also, you probably want to establish some ground rules about your use of an e-mail. If it’s somebody you want to connect with, send an e-mail intro/invite and give it a few days. If you don’t hear anything, perhaps send another or give them a quick call or shoot a text if you have their cell. A third e-mail should be like the third strike. If you make a third attempt and get no response, move on.

The most important part of these ground rules is not to take it personally. You don’t know what’s going on in that person’s life. It could be a very busy time. Maybe they have some personal or family issues going on. Whatever the reason, hold no grudges.

Many times, the next time you see that person they will be apologetic and want to set something up.

Remember, keep your e-mails short and be direct about your intentions. It’s your best chance to start and continue a networking relationship.