The Magic Three in Writing Emails

The Magic Three in Writing Emails

I stare at a stack of business cards that I gathered at Startup Grind’s event at the Eureka Building and finally have the time to sit down and do some email follow ups. I take each card, try to remember the short interaction, decipher any scribbled notes on the back, then start typing.

Dear Hey Hi What’s up Hello Hey Ryan!

What have you been up to? How’s it going? I don’t know if you remember me but we met at that one networking event? I hope you’ve been doing well! If you have some time, I’d really love to talk to you about some ideas prototypesinteresting launches ideas that I’d want to talk to you about. If you think it’s okay, I’d love to meet for coffee tea dinnerlunch or something. Don’t worry if you can’t, but I think this is really the NEXT BIG THING. I think LSKDJFWERIOUAFLKJAF…

You select all, delete everything and start over.

In any given email, a rule of thumb that I use is to include no more than three things. You can pick and choose those “things,” but I always encourage a “call to action” as one of the three. Certain patterns work for different situations, and realizing patterns that work can be empowering. Here is a list of actions that often take place in an email:

Possible Email Actions

a. Greeting

b. Introducing yourself, your job position, etc.

c. Asking them to email you back

d. Asking them to click on a link

e. Asking them to watch a video

f. Asking them to meet for a coffee

g. Telling them something that is already known

h. Asking too many questions

i. Asking them to call you on the phone

j. Gossiping, joking, or having idle conversation.

k. Leaving something open ended, like saying “If you think that is ok”

When you use too many of the actions on the list in one email, you overload the length, dilute your main message, and make the clear “call to action” difficult to define. By selecting no more than three “things” off the list, your emails will be easy to read, which leads to an increase in responses, and thus, allows you to spend less time on your computer.

We rely on conversations through emails that are easily misinterpreted, taken out of context, or responded through a “reply to all.”

Remember, simplicity is beautiful, and beauty comes at a price. The price is a conscious effort to communicate efficiently and effectively. The better you are, the fewer emails you will have to send and receive.

Think of emails as a conversation that could end at any moment, so deliver and ask for the most important things. Stay focused, and think about the goals and results of your email

Craft it with the end in mind, especially during the early stages of communication. It also gives you an opportunity to create an email relationship, building a trust that your emails aren’t wastes of time. Inboxes are crowded, cluttered, and always growing. Sometimes, we plan our days around getting the unread read. You have a short time to get their attention, keep their attention, and keep the momentum.

Keep it to the point, and set them up so they can communicate well with you. The shorter the email, the better.


Do you have any email hacks that work for you? I would love to hear about them. Comment below.