Reaching out with an email could be a magic ticket into a stranger's life that could lead to networking, potential opportunities, and even just simple brand recognition.
But if you stop and think about how many emails each of us gets every single day, it's enough to make you roll your eyes at the idea of believing in the power of a single email sent to a person.
While you may spend hours figuring out exactly what to say inside the email, when to place "the ask" and how many things you should link out to, the most important part is not always what is inside, it's the subject line.[thb_image full_width="true" alignment="center" image="9774" img_size="full"]
If you're looking to get a response or a person to read your email, here are the four best things to include in the subject line so that they feel empowered and excited to open what you sent to their inbox.
1. Get Personal
We all enjoy personalized communication and really do not enjoy mass, generic emails. If someone receives an email from you and isn't familiar with your email address, you should make the subject line friendly and personal so they know you're a real human and that you do not belong in their spam folder.
Consider including their name in the subject line, starting it like this:
"Hi Jen - "
Another personal technique you can use is to skip out on including the details of what the email contains and why you are reaching out in the subject line and instead put in a personal detail that you know about them.
For example, if you are sending an email about a new product that you'd like them to know about and you know from their Instagram feed, their website, and comments they have made in the past online, that they love pizza, perhaps you'd make the subject line about that personal fact rather than about the product or the question you are trying to ask them.
Then, start the email off introducing yourself, taking about that fact, and then getting to the point. Doing that builds rapport with them and shows that you took the time to get to know them rather than just finding their email address and hitting them up for something you want or need.
2. Be Extra Catchy
Ask a question, pull from emotion, take the topic of your email and sum it up in a short sentence so they get an idea of what's inside. The catchier the better. It makes people curios and eager to know what is inside.
Don't open this email unless you have nothing else to do tonight.
It was catchy, engaging, and hit me at the right time. I was bored at my desk and it made me want to open it to see what was inside the email.
3. Include the Why
If you want to skip out on being too gimmicky by using a personal fact about the person or something that's going to pull them in, then get to the point. If you include a direct reason why you are sending the email in the subject line, it usually can evoke a person to hit open, skim the email, and respond. Perhaps you use a subject line like this:
"Hi Jen - Reaching Out With Free August Event Tickets"
"Hi Jen - From One Female Badass to Another: Coffee?"
"Hi Jen - Let's Swap Stories on Failure: Coffee?"
Photo Courtesy of Spanish River
4. Add a Compelling Event
If your email is connected to a compelling or time-sensitive event or piece of news, be sure to include that in the subject line. When we stop to think about how many emails we get a day, we might browse the subject line, delete the spam ones, and keep the ones that seem interesting inside our inbox, unopened, for days, weeks, even years.
Including a punchy and current detail may get someone to open your correspondence faster.
Here’s an example:
“Hi Jen – Series A Inventor Deadline for ____ Is Monday”
That way, if the person on the other end is interested in connecting with you or responding to you, they know there is immediacy attached to the email and could find themselves opening and responding faster.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.