#UDPRIntern: The 30-Minute Email Method: Why It’s Long and Why It’s Worth It

4:00- I sit down to write my email, telling myself it will only take 10 minutes.

4:30- Still sitting, having my best friend look over the email for the 20th time, and calming myself down enough to send the thing out into cyberspace. paxton2

Some people call me crazy for taking 30 minutes to write an email. I prefer careful over crazy. I have a right to be cautious; emails are a simultaneous reflection of your written communication skills and your personality. Through my emails, I want to convey professional decorum while still maintaining a positive attitude at all times.

Here are some tips for writing your next email explaining why not a minute of that half hour I take to write just three short paragraphs is worthless:

  1. Make your subject line stand out. The subject line serves as an attention grabber- it’s what gets the reader to open the actual email. If people don’t think an email is worth their valuable time based on the subject of it’s content, they will delete it before even giving it a chance. So make your subject line original and engaging, but also keep it concise. No one wants to read a long subject line- or a long email (see Tip 4).


  1. Decide on the perfect greeting. Depending on the person you are contacting, there are different rules for greeting someone in an email. If the email regarding a job or internship position, say “To (insert name here)” to maintain formality. Sending an informal networking email? Say “Hi (insert name here)” to immediately set the email’s friendly, conversational tone. If you are writing to a professor, simply put the professor’s name, conveying to your teacher a sense of business and purpose.


  1. In the body, insert meaningful details. People can tell when an email feels formulaic. Mentioning specific details makes an email personalized and shows a desire to connect with your audience. You want your reader to know that you care about what’s important to them, whether it be their company or their class. This may require some research, but it will go a long way towards conveying your strong work ethic and determination to stand out.


But while you should include details…paxton1

  1. Keep your content concise. Just like the college students writing to them, professionals are busy people. They don’t have time to read lengthy proclamations of love for a company or the many reasons why a grade should be changed. Get to the point while still making it meaningful, and you stand a much better chance of your email actually being read.


  1. Read your email aloud- but not just to yourself. After all of the researching and editing is done, read your words aloud. Reading aloud forces you to concentrate on what your writing, making it easier to spot typos and determine whether or not words flow together. The goal is to sound like you would in normal conversational; the closer to what you would say when verbally communicating, the better. Make sure to get a second opinion about your word choices by reading your work to a friend. He/she can tell you when something sounds awkward rather than brilliant, providing valuable constructive criticism.


I understand that this method is time-consuming. There are a hundred other things I could spend my time doing in that half an hour I use to write three paragraphs. But I know that after spending those 30 minutes on tweaking and perfecting my work, I’m not sending just any ordinary email. I’m sending a written masterpiece catered to my audience reflecting the kind of professional I want to be.

So get ready to showcase your killer personality and your excellent written communication skills. All it takes is 30 minutes and the courage to press “Send.”

By: Paxton Mittleman

Paxton Mittleman is a sophomore communication interest and English double major who is passionate about public relations and social media marketing.  When she’s not attending PRSSA meetings, Paxton is tweeting from her @BlueHenPaxton Social Media Ambassador account, volunteering with the sisters of Gamma Sigma Sigma, or planning events as a Senior Fellow for the UD Honors Program.

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