The Template

Every week, I maintain THE TEMPLATE, an award-winningWinner of the 2015 Plank Center Award (public relations org.) for commitment to mentorship. blog that's been viewed more than 1.5 million times by people all over the world. In every column, I provide step-by-step instruction to help you become a stronger communicator. Like I always say, "Write well, open doors!"

How to Describe Yourself in Five Seconds

Are you smarter than a third grader?

Turns out, when you write emails you don’t have to be.

According to a study from the makers of the Boomerang email plug-in, a productivity tool, writing at a third-grade level is the best way to encourage a response.

From an article in The Washington Post:

“To get replies, the company suggests using shorter, simpler sentences — hence the third-grade reading level. Writing this way generally gets a response rate of 53 percent, as opposed to 45 percent for messages written at a high school reading level.”

How do we apply a “third-grade mentality” to our own emails? When we talk about our jobs (even with people inside our industry), we need to use plain English. The key is to ask yourself, “What’s the easiest way to describe what I do?”

Here are three ways I use “third-grade language” in my email outreach.

1. When I describe my blog, News To Live By

News To Live By is a blog that highlights the career advice “hidden” in the headlines.

Short, sweet and uncomplicated.

2. When I explain my book, Wait, How Do I Write This Email?

Wait, How Do I Write This Email? is a collection of 100+ templates for networking, the job search and LinkedIn.

The description is to the point, and the value proposition (100+ templates) is easy to find.

3. When I include my professional bio 

Danny Rubin is a communications expert who teaches the millennial generation the power of strong writing and networking skills.

Straightforward and understandable.

Also check out How to Write the Perfect LinkedIn Profile Summary

To apply the “third-grade” concept to your own bio or business, ask yourself:

  • If I had 5-10 seconds to tell a perfect stranger what I do, what would I say?
  • Do I use terminology the average person wouldn’t understand? How can I simplify the language?
  • Do I demonstrate value to the market in my explanation?
    • Through my blog, I say I “highlight career advice”
    • With my book, I provide “100+ templates for networking, the job search and LinkedIn”
    • Through my bio, I claim to “teach…strong writing and networking skills”

Share your “third-grade” bio or business description below!


Featured photo: US Department of Education (Flickr)


comments powered by Disqus