No, this entry isn’t about the Queen’s kind of subjects such as Jon and his fellow countrymen (or if you need me to be politically correct, country persons) but the kind in the line at the top of a mail referred to quite cleverly as the “subject line”.
I recently had a call from someone who informed me that I hadn’t answered a mail from her which she sent several days prior. She told me this mail was quite important and she asked why I hadn’t read or responded. When I asked her for the subject line so I could check on this she said it “Meeting on Tuesday cancelled”.
Well, I had received a mail regarding Tuesday’s meeting, with the subject line Meeting on Tuesday, opened it, read it and responded to it. I then put the date and time in my calendar (the sender hadn’t used an ‘invite’).
When I received the second mail with the subject line “Tuesday meeting cancelled I. quite logically in my opinion, ignored it. After all, I’d already read and responded to it. I assumed, again I think quite logically, assumed it had inadvertently been sent a second time.
Most of us receive an incredible amount of mail. Most of us also receive an incredible amount of mail that is “just so much noise”. In our workshops, Jon and I talked about the need for a good proposal strategy to “cut through the noise level.” It’s the same with mail. Want me to read it? Make sure the subject line is appropriate and informative.
A few tips on what makes for an effective subject line –
• Be specific as to the topic “Meeting to discuss next steps on project XYZ. Please confirm intention to attend.”
• Be clear and specific. I.e. “Confirming my intention to attend Tuesday meeting.”
• Let the receiver know if there is action required, “Decision on purchase of XX. Action required.”
• If it’s not a priority or essential. “Meeting notes. FYIF* – if/when you can get to” it.”
*For your information/files