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Not Boring: Email and Calendar Subjects that Move the Needle

October 17, 2018 / in How To / by

Something came up twice today, so I just had to write about it. It’s all about more effective email and calendar invites. Sounds boring, I know… But trust me, if you adopt these ideas, you might even get compliments from people about your emails and calendar invites. Here we go!

A Helpful Email Subject Can Move You to the Head of the Line

Blue Gurus: Email and Calendar SubjectsWhenever I send an email to someone I don’t know very well, I always include “Blue Gurus” or “Jason Terry” in the subject. Why? Because most people use their inbox as their TO DO list. I want my email to stand out in that list. So I include my name or company name, and it really works. I’ve had people comment on it many times.

Here are two examples:
“Blue Gurus – Proposal for your new website attached!”
“Jason Terry – The insurance paperwork you requested is attached.”

The people on the receiving end will read it and hopefully take action right away. But that doesn’t always happen. So when they look back through their “read” emails later that day, mine will stand out. It works, I promise.

If It’s Not on the Calendar, It Doesn’t Count

Blue Gurus: Email and Calendar SubjectsThis is something that has been really helpful in my business and personal life. On the business side, I have a lot of things going on… just like you. So I really have to use my calendar effectively or things get missed or I have lots of conflicts.

It’s embarrassing and unprofessional to miss an appointment with someone. And that almost never happens to me because I’m disciplined about sending calendar invites for just about everything. If I need to be somewhere, or it’s important to get something done that day, it goes on my calendar.

And on the personal side, my wife Trista and I used to have lots calendar challenges. This was years ago… and it was a real problem for both of us. We finally shared our electronic calendars and agreed, “if it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t count!” This put a stop to most of the issues we had with work, date nights, social events, family gatherings, vacation, etc.

Be Clear About Purpose or Goals with Calendar Invites

I love this best practice. And this is one of the things that came up today that inspired this story.

Blue Gurus: Email and Calendar SubjectsMy friend Michelle Keller at Swope Health Services sent me an agenda for our monthly meetings. I wrote back and complimented her for being so organized (which isn’t surprising because she’s a communications professional.) She told me that she generally doesn’t accept calendar invites that don’t have a purpose or agenda included in the Title or Description of the invite. That made sense to me. I usually include the purpose or task list in calendar invites I send… but not all the time.

I’m going to try to do a better job with this moving forward. Even if that’s just a few bullet points that are important to cover with the people I’m meeting with. That will be more effective than just winging it.

Here’s an example:
When I send a calendar invite to someone to meet for coffee, I could just title it “Coffee” and add the people I want to invite and click Send. But I want to be more helpful than that, especially if it’s the first time I’m meeting them. A much better title would be, “Sarah and Jason – Meeting of the Minds”.

  • This reminds both us who we’re meeting. It’s easy to forget when you are busy or if it’s the first thing on a Monday morning.
  • I choose to put their name before mine to be respectful… it’s just a nice touch.
  • Personally, I would look forward to a “Meeting of the Minds” more than I would a “Coffee”.
  • I often include my cell phone number after my name in the subject. If they’re running late, they can easily call me to let me know.

So there you have it. And I don’t think this subject is talked about enough. (See what I did there?) I really hope you got at least one thing you can use from Email and Calendar Subjects that Move the Needle. If you have any best practices with your email subjects or calendar invites, let me know!

  1. Funny thing about whose name to put first on the invite. You know me, I certainly want to be respectful but I always put MY name first in the invitation. My thought process is that it will be easier for them to see who is taking up this time on their calendar. To me, it seems confusing for them to have their own name on their calendar. I guess I am thinking that there are a lot of situations where the view of your calendar is abbreviated and in those cases they may only see their own name. Make sense? I could see it going either way.

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