How to reach unreachable people

The more time I spend with students and people building ideas the more I hear the same questions being asked. These questions are about how to get busy people to pay attention to you.

Here are ten things to consider when emailing someone you don’t know but very much want to know.

  1. Have a clear email signature with telephone number and links to social media
  2. Take time to craft your subject line. It’s a story
  3. Spell the receiver's name correctly
  4. Introduce yourself in one or two sentences maximum
  5. Don’t describe how busy you are in this introduction or any other part of the email
  6. Replace over used phrases like ‘I hope this email finds you well’ with a curious invitation
“Tell me about (insert relevant work / life / friendly question)”

7. Be extremely clear about your ask. Your ask is the reason you are sending this email. Don’t be a brain picker.

I want to talk to you about X because of Y. I’m asking for your help on X because of Y.

8. Don’t use the word “just”

9. End on a clear and specific action point. This must be quick and easy to answer.

“Is this something you’d be interested in talking to me about? Are you available to talk for 15 mins on the 2nd, 10th or 20th of this month?”

10. Be politely patient yet persistent whilst recognising a reply might possibly take weeks not days