“I hope you are well” is not a great opening line for an email. This is especially true if you don’t know the recipient. If you say you hope they’re doing well, it sounds contrived and insincere. Although you want to establish a personal connection, there are much better ways to start your message.
Here are six alternatives to saying, “I hope this email finds you well.”
Begin your email with something personal about the reader. Make sure it relates to the topic you’re writing about. For instance, “I read your article about [topic] in [outlet] last week. I completely agree with your statement about…” Or, “I recently found out that your startup got VC funding. That’s so exciting!” Showing a personal interest encourages the recipient to read your message.
“I Know You’re Swamped, So I’ll Be Brief.”
Mentioning the fact that the person is busy and getting to the point shows respect. You value their time and want to keep things concise. Be sure you follow through by keeping your message short and direct.
“We Met at ______.”
If you recently met the reader, let them know. The fact that you’re reaching out builds rapport and makes them want to read what you have to say. Make sure this relates to the topic you want to discuss. For instance, you may have talked about employee engagement strategies during an HR conference you met and want to ask for more details.
Minimal Small Talk
Begin your email with a bit of small talk. Make sure it’s personal and meaningful. For instance, “How are things in New York? I hope you’re keeping cool this summer.” Or, “Hey, it’s Friday! I hope you have fun plans for the weekend.” This approach is best if you’re familiar with the recipient, even if just through email. Consider their persona when deciding what to say. Write as though you’re having an in-person conversation with the reader.
“I’d Love an Update on…”
If you’re asking the recipient for a quick update on something, begin your email by letting them know. This approach sounds casual, yet businesslike, and encourages the person to respond quickly. Be specific about what you want an update on, how you’d like progress measured, and how you’d like the update reported.
“I’m Eager to Get Your Expertise on…”
If you’re looking for the reader’s expert knowledge or opinion on something, lead with that. Whether you’re inquiring for a project or career move, this flatters the person and politely states what you’re looking for. If you don’t know the reader, double–check that their background fits with what you’re requesting their expertise about.
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