Take 5 more seconds and save hours

“Hello, Hi, Hiya, Howzit, Howdee”- just a few of the many ways to greet people but they all come down to the same thing – a quick greeting, an easy opener.

According to my trusty dictionary, a greeting is “a polite word or sign of welcome or recognition.” Simple, quick and powerful.

So many people struggle and feel as if they’re banging their head against a brick wall as they wait for people to get back to them or take action from sending out an email. Sounds familiar?

OK, well first, a quick question for you. You wouldn’t just burst the door open to someone’s office, blurt out what you want to say and then slam the door shut as you leave would you? Well, if you would, then that’s a whole other story. In the main, you’d walk in and say “Morning, how are you?” or “Hey John, have you got a minute?” It constantly amazes me that people fire off emails and do it without a single “Hello” or “Morning” and then wonder why they get mixed – if any – responses.

It’s the quickest way to irritate, to unsettle and to invite the other person to simply make you wait or ignore you. Never underestimate the power of giving people a sign of “welcome or recognition” to ease them – and you – into your message.

It takes about 5 seconds to type a few words of welcome or greeting and then to add a friendly, polite sign off at the end. I call it ‘topping and tailing’ things or ‘adding subtle accessories’ to your messages. Again, think about your emailing like going into someone’s office – you are, after all, appearing on his or her screen. You’ve got nothing to lose by taking those few seconds and so much to gain.

It makes a real difference to the way your message lands and how it makes the reader feel – and crucially – what they do once they’ve read it, if you top and tail it. If you want to engage people into action – whatever action that is – then a ‘polite word or sign of welcome or recognition’ is a quick and easy win.

Notice the difference in how you feel reading these two real-life examples:

  • When can we get together to discuss XYZ? The deadline’s coming up, let’s find a date.


  • Morning Jane, hope all goes well with you. When can we get together to discuss XYZ? The deadline’s coming up, so let’s find a date. Best wishes, Your Name

What about this bald statement, again a real-life example:

  • I need to understand more about this before I can agree it. When can we speak?


  • Hi there John, thanks for sending this across and I’ve read through it all. I need to understand more about this before I can agree it. When can we speak? Regards, Your Name

There’s a myriad of things you can do – and not do – to get people into action and to respond to you in a way that makes sense to both you and them. One of them is to use an easy opener in your emails.

Think how many emails you send and receive every day and now notice which ones you find easier to respond to and why. I bet you the easier ones are from people who take just a few seconds to give you a bit of recognition before they ask, or tell you, what it is they want. Those few seconds can save you so much crucial time and energy. Why wouldn’t you?

Oh, and if you standardise your sign off, so it appears automatically, make sure it’s in the same typeface as the rest of the email. It’s better than no sign off at all, but if it comes out differently the reader knows you didn’t personalise it. Subtle again, but it’s the subtleties that make the difference, isn’t it?

How do I learn more about Kay?

To have the opportunity to discuss any blind spots you know you have or things that are slowing you down or holding you back as you connect, persuade and compel people at work; click here to apply for a complimentary conversation with Kay.

Article reproduced with permission of Kay White, Communication Specialist and Mentor at www.wayforwardsolutions.com. Kay shows professionals how to be understood. Get quicker, faster and better results by becoming a more effective, influential and savvy communicator – everywhere in your life.

In addition, you can listen to an exclusive interview with Kay where she shares several exclusive tips on how to immediately make your communication more powerful and persuasive: http://www.maximisepotential.co.uk/how-to-develop-effective-powerful-communication/

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!