Should you change the way you email to reflect troubled times or just carry on as normal?
There are two distinct schools of thought on this. Ignoring world events can make you sound tone-deaf but, equally, time is precious and others will appreciate your emails getting straight to the point.
With Brexit, COVID-19 lockdowns and now war in Ukraine, the last few years have been tough for businesses. If you want to acknowledge that, here’s how to email empathetically.
Before you write a word, think about your recipient. How will they be feeling and if you were in their position, what kind of help or advice would be useful? Bear this in mind while you write and you’ll naturally adopt the right mindset to show empathy.
Stumped? Here are some examples
If you’re still stuck, here are some ways to start your email empathetically rather than sounding like a robot:
- I hope you and your family (or colleagues) are bearing up
Starting your email this way immediately acknowledges your recipient’s feelings or hardships they may be suffering. Since it’s been a challenging time for everyone lately, you’re showing you’re aware they might be affected more than usual.
It’s also good to offer good wishes a second time in the email, either in the body copy or in your closing. Not only do they establish a personal connection, but messages of warmth and support during tough times will be greatly appreciated.
- First and foremost, how are you?
This opening carries more weight than a routine “How are you?” by showing the recipient that their wellbeing is more important than whatever it is you have to say. With some thought about the words you use when starting an email, you can create a tone of empathy and kindness, which will be welcome in troubled times.
- I appreciate you [fill the gap]
Find something that you can show your genuine appreciation for at the outset and to on to personalise the rest of your email in a way that makes the recipient feel like you genuinely thought about them as you wrote it. (Incidentally, this applies not only to emails but anything you write).
Grammarly.com suggests a few ways to start your email that instantly create a tone of kindness and gratitude:
- I appreciate you taking the time to read this email, knowing how difficult times are for [sector].
- I appreciate you getting back to me.
- I appreciate you getting in touch to tell me about your news.
A word of caution: don’t go over the top. You want to sound authentic, not cheesy or insincere, so avoid implying a level of intimacy that isn’t justified by the nature of your relationship.
Summing up, to inject some warmth and personality into your message all you need to do is…
If you’d like help writing empathetically, please get in touch.