How to Email Anyone in the World
I’ll admit it: I struggled with this post title.
Why? Because “How to Start a Discussion with Anyone in the World” is what it really means.
When we send a cold email, we’re starting a discussion with somebody–a real, breathing human being. It’s more than just an email; it’s a gateway to authentic conversation.
Sometimes that’s easy to forget when we’re glued to a computer screen. We want to email all of our important thoughts. We want to sound professional. Ultimately, we’d like to get a good response.
But here’s the truth: If you’re an entrepreneur, being able to communicate well via cold email is a superpower.
It will help you meet tons of other talented, amazing people, it will assist you in approaching investors, and it will open up an endless sea of opportunities.
Here’s how you can perfect your emails as soon as today:
Be real (not robotic)
“But email is different. Obviously I wouldn’t repeat this word-for-word in an actual conversation!”
If you wouldn’t repeat what is in your email word-for-word in real life, then why send it via email?
When contacting anyone, especially an acquaintance or stranger, challenge yourself to think of it as an in-person conversation rather than an email.
In person, it’d be flat out rude to approach a stranger and talk for 20 minutes straight. They’d probably think you were trying to sell them something. During a real conversation, things are normally much more balanced–you talk with someone rather than at them.
I’d like to challenge you to something, and it’s very simple: Head on over to your email inbox and check your sent messages. Open up the last 5 messages you sent, then read each one out loud.
How did those emails sound? Did they sound natural? If you were conversing with someone in person, would you have said everything you mentioned in the email without pausing to let the other person talk?
See, that’s the problem with many cold emails. Often times, they don’t sound completely natural and tend to drag on.
Keep it short
People just don’t have time to read a cold email that is 5 paragraphs in length.
Look at it this way: When you’re expecting an important email and open it up only to realize it’s long, do you stop to read every single word? Or are you more inclined to read the first few sentences, then skim the rest of the email for anything else that interests you?
I’m guessing you chose the second option, and you’re not alone.
Now, imagine what you’d do if you received a lengthy email from a stranger. You’d probably be less likely to be an active reader.
Not only are short emails easier to read, but they also show respect for the other person’s time. As difficult as it can be, try to limit your first cold email to 5 sentences or less.
When you’re direct, you’ll see results. If someone has to guess why you’re emailing them, they might abandon the email entirely.
So, next time you send an email, address who you are, what you’re emailing about, and why.
Before hitting “send”, think about what you’re doing for the other person. Too often, cold emails are self-centered and contain the word “I” far more than the word “you.”
For example, don’t ask for a 30 minute phone call if you haven’t spoken prior to the email. Always remember that you are a stranger, and that most people need to build a connection with someone before sacrificing a chunk of their afternoon.
This post by Noah Kagan sums it up well:
I get about 2 emails a day asking for coffee or advice.
Lately, I’ve been deleting them because no one takes even a minute to write a well crafted email.
I used to feel guilty but I figure since the person is being selfish, I can be as well.
Email is an amazing way to connect with anyone in the world. And when done right, you can get to know some pretty awesome people.
Always remember to speak no differently than you would IRL, and to also be empathetic and put yourself in the other person’s shoes.