**Chris Murphy** · 18 January, 2021
One of the most important lessons I've learned on Propel is the need to get to 'The Ask' quickly and stop wasting others' time with lengthy emails.
I've found this a difficult lesson to learn. In the past my emails were lengthy, biblical'esque epistles, encompassing all manner of content, often useless and utterly irrelevant to the task at hand.
I never stopped to put myself in the position of the receiver being inundated with what – in retrospect – was often totally useless information. I was far too focused on me and not focused enough on the recipient. (Looking back, I'm embarrassed.) ²
I've learned now to tighten up my emails considerably, getting to the point quickly. I learned this from Jon Bradford – former MD of Techstars, London – during one of Propel's excellent Founder Firesides.
If I can't read an email when I'm out of the office, reading on my phone, I'll file it away to 'read later' (and I'll forget it). Put simply: Your email needs to fit on a single screen of a phone. —Jon Bradford
This applies to anyone you're trying to connect with, for example:
Keep your email short and sharp, focus on the recipient and ask directly. ³
(1) They will either: 1. Say yes; 2. Say no; 3. Equivocate; or 4. They won't reply. If they don't reply, don't give up. A short – much shorter – follow up might get you a response. Perhaps they are just busy. Read this for advice on your follow up.
(2) Here are some practical examples of edits I've made.