Don’t Get Ignored

Long emails get pushed aside or ignored.

“One of the worst things in people’s careers is to be ignored.” Joseph McCormack, author of, “Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less.”

long emails

People form opinions of you based on the emails you send.

“It’s time to embrace the ‘less is more’ mandate. Before you inadvertently run long at your next meeting, in an e-mail or on a call, remember that your livelihood might take a direct hit when you can’t get to the point.” Joseph McCormack

Effective brevity is power.

How to annoy people with your emails (0:59): 

5 email tips:

  1. Summarize the email in the subject line.
  2. One subject.
  3. One action item.
  4. One request.
  5. If it’s long, can you delete the first few sentences or paragraphs?

The power of clarity and brevity moves railroad cars. McCormack in his own words (1:59): 

Joseph suggests that you apply Elmore Leonard’s rule of writing to your emails. “When you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.”

Joseph McCormack’s 4 tips for verbal communication:

  1. Map it – draw an outline or bubble chart before communicating.
  2. Tell it – start telling stories. People love a concise narrative that explains the 5 Ws (who, what, where, when and why).
  3. Talk it – become a conversationalist who listens more and talks less.
  4. Show it – use visuals that paint pictures. More than 70% of people are visual learners.


Buy a two minute hour glass timer for everyone on your team. Place it by your phones. If you talk more than two minutes, without letting others speak, it’s a monologue, not a conversation.

After two weeks, promote them to one minute timers. (Adapted from my conversation with Joseph)

What email tips do you have?

What are the components of effective verbal communication?

Brief note:

I was excited to talk with the guy who created the “Priceless” campaign for MasterCard.

Joe’s book, “Brief,” focuses on making bigger impact with verbal communication. But, during our conversation, we took a brief sidetrack to discuss email.

More tomorrow…