PO Box 920559
Needham, MA 02492



Too Short

Normally I work with people on streamlining their communication.

One reader takes it too far… he sends me a follow up email with just four words:

“Hello – got a minute?”

Many people take this approach, thinking that less information leads to more intrigue.

But that’s not the way intrigue works.

In fact, it’s exactly the opposite.

Specifics improve response rates.

Want better responses from your follow up emails?

Here are three key elements of a follow up email:

1. For What?

The first reaction to “Hello – got a minute?” is “For what?”

Is he trying to sell something, or looking for advice, or representing a charity…

It gets worse, because when his intent isn’t clear, he just attracts the idly curious. If you’re wasting your time with tire kickers, it’s probably because your emails are too vague.

Specifics will attract true interest from legitimate prospects.

So be clear and direct about why you are contacting them.

“Hello – got a minute to discuss my Elevator Pitch?”

“Hello – got a minute to talk about a leadership training program for high school juniors?”

“Andy, My usual follow up email is just four words long: Hello – got a minute”

If they still ignore you, that’s good. They weren’t interested in the first place.

The people who do respond will want to hear what you have to say.

2. Be friendly

It’s awkward to launch right into your ask

So use the first line to connect.

A good generic one is “I hope things are well.”

Of course, if you have more specifics, be more specific.

“I hope things are well. I was wondering if you had a minute to discuss my Elevator Pitch.”

“How was Jenny’s soccer game on Saturday? I wanted to follow up and see if she was interested in the leadership program I mentioned.”

Ease into the conversation to grab and keep their attention.

3. Call to Action

What’s the next step?

Be specific about what you want them to do next.

Do you want them to email you, or go to a website, or set up a conference call, or send smoke signals…

If you don’t suggest a next action, they’ll choose the default action of… doing nothing.

In fact, that’s usually why people don’t respond to emails — there was no next step.

So offer a clear and simple next step.

“Let me know if you have time to talk this Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning”

“You can get more information at”

Here’s what it looks like when you put it all together:

Example 1:


I hope things are well.

I was hoping to get 10 minutes of your time to discuss my Elevator Pitch.

Let me know if you have time either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning.

Example 2:


How was Jenny’s soccer game on Saturday?

I really think she would enjoy the leadership camp we talked about last week.

You can apply and get more information at

Example 3:


I enjoyed meeting you at the chamber event yesterday.

I was wondering if you’d be interested in sitting down for a cup of coffee either Tuesday afternoon or Friday morning next week.


Take a minute right now to add these three elements to your follow up email, then post it below… (extra credit if you include what kind of response it got…)


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