Hidden Pages

What's the Desired Outcome for Your Email?                 (pssst . . . there are only 4)


Every email you send will have one of the following four outcomes or actions: 

1: Action required

The reader needs to take a specific action. For example, your desired action might be "Prepare a proposal for a 10% reduction in transport & freight costs by 12 noon on Friday 30th March."

2: Response requested  

The reader needs only to respond to your message; no other action is necessary. For example, your message might request "Let me know if you are available for a meeting at 2:00pm on Friday 25th."

3: Read only

The reader needs only to read your message; no other action or response is necessary. For example, your message says "Please read the attached report before our team meeting on March 2nd" or "here is the document you asked me to send you".

4: FYI

Reading the message is optional; no action or response is necessary. For example, your message may be a joke or say "Here is a copy of the latest company newsletter for your interest."


So, if every email has only one of the 4 outcomes above, why not write into the subject line, and make it the very first thing your recipient reads? 

By thinking about your desired outcome before you write your message, you’ll tend to send it to less people (decrease quantity) but achieve better results (increase quality).

Use the Drafts folder

To make this easy, just set up 4 draft emails, each with one of the above subject lines. In future, whenever you are writing a new email, simply go to the Drafts folder (instead of clicking New), select the draft email with the outcome you want and then choose Forward to open up a new message with the desired outcome pre-written into the subject line and your auto-signature in the body of the message.Remember to not double click the message to open it as you’ll then lose it from the drafts folder.

Your draft messages can include your signature and even the text “Hello ,” (ie: Hello, space and comma) to save having to type this out thousands of time in the next year every time you send a new message!

By going to the Drafts folder to select your desired outcome, it makes you think about what you’re trying to achieve with this email. This means your recipient doesn’t have to guess or work it out for themselves and so they are far more likely to do what you want them to do and do it more promptly because you’ve made it easy for them.

Why not try adding one of the 4 desired outcomes to your messages for the rest of this week and see what a difference it makes?