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1 Easy Way to Strengthen Every Networking Email


email templates

Take a look at the first line of this article from USA TODAY on November 12.

“The federal and state health insurance exchanges open for business Saturday…”

The writer puts the most important information — open enrollment for health care is back — at the top so I don’t need to search around for it. In journalism, you never want to “bury the lead” (sometimes written as lede) and hide your main point.

The same rules apply in the world of networking (more networking tips here). Except in our careers, the lead is our “big ask.”

Ask for a coffee chat

Ask for someone to put in a word about a job

Ask a colleague to connect you to another person

The key with the “big ask”: don’t bury it. Otherwise, you s0und like a timid rookie (“Please, won’t you help me?”)

If “the ask” comes near the beginning, you seem confident and sure of yourself. (“I know what I’m doing.”)

I’ll show you what I mean. Let’s say you want a meeting with a business owner to talk about freelance opportunities.

The “Bury the Lead” Version

Hi Mr. Thompson,

My name is Jane Doe, and I am a web developer who specializes in small business websites. I hope you’re doing well.

For the past seven years, I have worked with various media firms in Houston to create sharp websites for a range of clients. I have completed websites for a veterinary clinic, auto body shop, 24-hour gym, family-owned grocery and a teacher’s supply store.

Please see a few examples of my work down below:

– Happy Pets Vet Clinic

– Longworth Auto Body Shop

– Non-Stop Fitness

I have reasonable rates and work quickly to finish the job. I can also provide references of my performance if you’d like.

Please let me know if you would like to meet and explore how I can help your team.

Thanks so much,

Jane

Explanation

Where is the “big ask” in the email? The second to last line:

Please let me know if you would like to meet and explore how I can help your team.

First, people are busy so Jane needs to be up front about what she wants (a meeting to explore how she can gain new business).

Second, a request at the end has a “pretty please” feel to it.

Like she’s saying, “I don’t know if you’re busy or not but maybe, just maybe, you could find some time for me? K thanks bye.”

Now see the email with the “big ask” up higher in the message.

The “Assertive” Version

Hi Mr. Thompson,

My name is Jane Doe, and I am a web developer who specializes in small business websites. I hope you’re doing well.

I am writing you because I want to explore ways I can help your team on website projects.

For the past seven years, I have worked with various media firms in Houston to create sharp websites for a range of clients. I have completed websites for a veterinary clinic, auto body shop, 24-hour gym, family-owned grocery and a teacher’s supply store.

Please see a few examples of my work down below:

– Happy Pets Vet Clinic

– Longworth Auto Body Shop

– Non-Stop Fitness

I have reasonable rates and work quickly to finish the job. I can also provide references of my performance if you’d like.

Please let me know if you would like to talk further.

Thanks so much,

Jane

Explanation

Do you see the difference? Here, the “big ask” comes in line two:

I am writing you because I want to explore ways I can help your team on website projects.

Right away, the reader knows Jane would like a meeting to discuss freelance opportunities. Then, the rest of the email underscores why she deserves one.

Please see a few examples of my work down below:

– Happy Pets Vet Clinic

– Longworth Auto Body Shop

– Non-Stop Fitness

The “big ask” at the beginning is direct and feels more confident. Also, it shows Jane values someone’s time. As in, “I know you’re busy. Let me get right to the point.”

Remember, don’t bury the lead. Put it right where people can see it.

 

Agree? Disagree?

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For more templates for emails and work-related documents, go here.

 

Featured photo: Acumen (Flickr)

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