I recently downloaded Skype on a new computer. Within seconds of setting up my account, I received an email with the subject line: “A very warm welcome to Skype.”
I was surprised by how those words affected me. “Skype really cares,” I thought, putting aside my cynical self for a moment. The email went on to give a few simple and friendly tips on how to use the service. I felt as if I had made a personal connection.
The lesson is clear: simple, direct and friendly language is the best way to communicate. If a giant internet company can figure it out, maybe others can too.
I just read an article that cited a study from the University of California. “Your email could be killing you,” the article said. Researchers tested workers’ stress levels by attaching heart monitors. They found that stress levels in people were much lower when they only checked email twice a day, instead of whenever it came in. The study also showed that people who took email vacations for a day or so were not only more relaxed, but more productive.
Email often feels impersonal and peremptory. Even a friendly subject line will make your reader feel good.