Regularly, those I communicate with comment on how I take the time to use the Subject field differently from most they email. The difference is I consider the Subject field as the first part of my email and not an afterthought.
Many will rush to type a cryptic thought into that field. Others, over the life of a communication, never consider if the Subject field still applies. By prioritizing this field, I help set the ongoing tone and let the recipient know what to expect.
Are you looking for the proper way to help your emails stand out in other’s inboxes? Especially for essential or time-sensitive issues or when you need further assistance, such as asking for help, requiring a response, or clarification.
Quick Ways for Your Email to Stand Out in the Inbox
When you need to grab attention and get a response, Subject field prefaces work well. Now, you don’t do this with every email. Discretion is key. We don’t want to be the “boy who cried wolf” when needing an email response.
I use the Subject field to help set expectations and the tone for my email replies or follow-ups. Adding these Subject field practices allows your communications to stand out in a very likely overcrowded inbox.
Before the established Subject and on ongoing conversations, I use the following:
Still No Response?
For those times when I must have an answer and haven’t received one just yet…
But I don’t just change the subject alone. I add a comment at the top of the email (or previous email) backing up what I have in the Subject Field. You don’t want to add these suggestions to the Subject and click send.
Another example of using the Subject field to guide recipients is how I take the opportunity to advise clients on their project status by using the following in the Subject field.
These Subject: field prefaces allow my clients to file those emails and refer back to them at a glance because they know exactly what is contained within. You can create your own set of Subject field prefaces to guide those you communicate with.
Subject field attention-getters, let the other side know at a glance what your email is about and what you are looking for. You may also find that those you communicate with appreciate this slight “hint” in the Subject: field too.
Be Concise, Review and Change If Apropos
You’ve probably caught yourself doing this. You start an email and type a general phrase into the Subject field. A phrase that could apply to pretty much any email or topic.
By taking the time to type a Subject that is specific to that particular email, the other side knows without question what you are contacting them about. By carefully crafting your Subject field, you can’t help but add clarity to your communications, right? Right.
I do not hesitate to change the Subject field entirely when the topic being discussed is no longer what is noted in the Subject field. There is nothing like digging through many emails for info when the Subject field has nothing to do with that topic. Do not hesitate to change the topic when it makes sense to do so.
Use the Subject: Wisely
It only takes a few extra keystrokes to use your email Subject: field to your advantage. By using the Subject field as noted above, you help recipients know what you are looking for. As with anything to do with email etiquette, these little extra efforts lend to better organization for all involved too.
Email is now part of everyday life — and it isn’t going anywhere. So honing your communications skills is time well spent.