Stick to the 3-B Plan when Emailing Busy People

Gregory Ciotti writes this:

If you want to get in touch with influential people (aka: BUSY people), you need to know how to contact them. Despite the buzz around social media, far more people use email to communicate than any other online medium, and business today still gets done over email, not through tweets. Sparring Mind’s Gregory Ciotti explains how to make things happen over email with the 3-B Plan.

Why it’s Important to Know

Knowing how to write outreach emails might seem like a no-brainer or maybe even an unnecessary skill to have, but I can assure you the opposite, on both accounts. If you’re serious about networking and building your platform/personal brand, you MUST know how to email important people. Important people are busy people. You can’t rely on random encounters to get in touch with people who can help you flourish; while it may happen once in a while, the rest of the time it’s up to you.

Due to the fact that tweeting is so impersonal and a cold phone call is so annoying, email is the ideal platform for reaching out. For busy people, even their inbox is something that is viewed as a “task,” meaning they want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Understanding how to properly email people is a skill that sets you apart from others (trust me, I’ve received some truly awful emails) and is essential for making things happen with influencers.

The 3-B Plan

When deciding whether to read or delete an email, our brains go through this common evaluation process:

1. Who is emailing me (and is this spam)?
2. What do they want?
3. How long will this take?

Getting a “pass” on all 3 of these can be tougher than it looks, especially for busy people. Here’s my 3-step technique to avoid the trash bin.

I call it the 3-B plan. I always double-check my emails to make sure they follow the guidelines below, and I’ve been able to get some fantastic response rates.


If there is one thing that busy people value above all else, it’s brevity. If you were receiving upwards of 50-100 emails per day, or had so many obligations that you were only left with a short amount of time to check email, it’d be easy to see why. In order to get your messages read ASAP, it’s best to make sure your opening email follows the ASAP rule: as short as possible.

I wouldn’t put a set limit on email length, because it’s a case by case basis. The important thing to remember is to always edit your emails at least once to trim unnecessary information. People don’t need your enthralling life story over email, they just need “who, what, why” so they can get back to business.


Being blunt doesn’t mean not being persuasive, it simply means getting to the point without trying to be clever. Stories and jokes are essential for other forms of writing, but NOT for emails. Get to the incentive on why the other person should respond right away.

If possible, list a number in the title to signal commitment time (Ex: “3 quick questions”) and state exactly what the email is about in the subject line.


I sometimes am in disbelief that this one needs to be said, but it’s so true. I’ve had emails where people send what looks like a newsletter, emails with tons of images in them (so I have to click “display images” to even read it), and emails with a DOZEN attachments. When it’s your first time emailing someone…

Keep it simple, stupid.

Read Greg’s complete 9-step email guide here.

Source: Stick to the 3-B Plan when Emailing Busy People
To this I would add one thought that is becoming obvious to me lately. I divide information into two categories; just in time and just in case. Just in time is information that affects relationship and revenue and should go in an inbox. A link, however, is most often just in case information. Now, think about the context of the person receiving the information and where they will receive it. If your communication is ‘just in time’ then follow the rules above to get a response – I even go so far as to try to limit my communication to the amount of space available in a single smartphone screen or limiting the message to a single thought so that the busy person on the other end [who is hopefully a Getting Things Done [GTD] practitioner] can do it in two minutes or less. If I’m sending a link, however, why not send it to them in their favorite social network? You will find them in a context where they are already looking at links anyway! I believe that if you think about the context in which a busy person will be reading your message and you communicate accordingly, you will eventually move to the top of the heap. What do you think?

Couples 911 – LaShelle’s Top 3 Tips for Couples

Taylor Duvall shares this:

I have followed CNVC Trainer LaShelle Lowe-Charde for years now and feel so grateful for learning how I typically ‘react’ in my long term relationships and how I can break any habitual pattern.  Her main focus is supporting couples and watch my interview with her on YouTube to hear her top 3 tips:

  • Spend a designated time each day focused on each other.
  • Share even small appreciations as often as possible.
  • Develop a language of feeling and needs to communicate what’s in our heart (what we want) not what’s wrong.

She also shares her relationship saving request and why once we ‘get’ the floor, we tend to go on and on…” via Couples 911 – LaShelle’s Top 3 Tips for Couples | The Center for Nonviolent Communication.

Here are a couple of bonus videos from LaShelle…

Is Nonviolent Communication Practical?

Yellow daffodils

Have you ever heard of Nonviolent Communication? My wife and I have been using it our relationship for almost a year with a great degree of success…

“One of the most common critiques I hear of Nonviolent Communication is that it’s simply not practical. “It would be great if this can work,” the line often goes. “Too bad that in my (school, family, organization) we don’t have the luxury of taking all this time to do all this endless dialogue that it takes to get anywhere. No one would have the patience, anyway.” via Is Nonviolent Communication Practical? | Psychology Today.

Yes, Nonviolent Communication does take time but so does having arguments and recovering from them. Follow the ‘via’ link if you want to know more about Nonviolent Communication…

It’s a well known secret in real estate that the three most important aspects of a property are ‘location, location, location’. In social media, there’s a similar mantra. It’s called ‘share, share, share’…

“If you step back and take a look how information moves in Social Media, it’s quite different than “Traditional Media.” Back in the day, most people got their information from newspapers or magazines. The direction of information is from the few (the writer or publisher) down to the many. We’ve all seen this in action in our daily lives, maybe to the point of not even noticing it anymore. Got a favorite newspaper columnist or TV show host? One single person communicating to possibly millions of people with little interaction between the communicator and the listeners.

As we step into the Social Media arena, the direction and flow of information is between the readers and the writers. The interaction (thanks to the internet) tends to be instant and the ripple effect from this sharing of information can spread far and wide. With the users of Social Media able to contribute news and information to anyone willing to listen, we now have a conversation. Just like the conversations you are already having at the local coffeeshop or at work.

The recent buzzing and tittering by the media about Twitter and Social Media in general, it’s no wonder business owners may feel forced into using these internet-based communication tools, or perhaps miss sales opportunities their competition is getting instead of them. Not being familiar with the landscape, many make that sometimes fatal error of confusing Social Media with traditional advertising.” Source: The Secret to Social Media – Business Networking – Biznik

This isn’t something to be afraid of — it’s something to be embraced and leveraged. Using the right set of tools, sharing is easy…

As the internet marketing gurus at Hubspot say ““Each thoughtful post on your blog is a public demonstration of your thought leadership, personal integrity, humor, and professional insights. You don’t have to refute one of Einstein’s theories to get respect.” To that I would add each thoughtful ‘share’. In my seminars I ask people how many of them have ever forwarded a link to their friends or saved a bookmark. Of course EVERYONE has done that. What differs is the efficacy or efficiency of their tools.



Shareaholic is my personal favorite and one of the first Firefox add-ons I install whenever I move to a new computer. I also recommend ShareThis, another Firefox add-on as well…



In closing, I’ll share with you one of my most important tactics. I’m always on the lookout for something good to share — it helps establish my thought leadership position. If something is really good, however, I’ll do a blog post FIRST and THEN share that post with others. Yes, it’s important to share but it’s ok to be a little selfish in the process by sharing something from an internet property that you own so that it drives traffic to your homebase, wherever that may be. Questions? Feedback? Leave a comment or use the contact page to reach me…

What Companies Want in a Social Media Intern

As well as looking good on your resume and netting you college credit, interning in social media can offer you incredibly valuable experience in the world of work, where social media experience is becoming ever-more important.

However, competition for good placements can be fierce, so it’s good to know what companies look for in a social media intern, so you can focus on improving or highlighting those skills.

From big companies, small businesses, non-profits, educational institutions and commercial ventures, we talked to the people who recruit social media interns to find out just what it is they want in a candidate.

If you want to know what makes a good social media intern, look no further than Jamy Lyn Johnson of AGCO. In the spirit of full disclosure, Jamy is a client that has fully embraced the ‘e1evation workflow‘, personalized it and made it her own. A few weeks ago, the AGCO blog [which Jamy drives along with her boss Sue Otten] received a huge honor when they earned a spot in the Alltop Agriculture channel — kind of a bloggers ‘hall of fame’ making them the only Farm Equipment manufacturer to achieve that hallowed status…

What make Jamy so successful? Mashable lists 4 qualities that companies want:

  • Good communication skills
  • Solid writing skills
  • Top notch social skills
  • Enthusiasm

Jamy had all four out of the box. As a journalism major at Furman, she gained the solid foundation that many business bloggers are lacking. She was also familiar with social media tools but needed a system and a process for using them in concert to achieve business objectives. That’s where I came alongside her for a brief period of time to connect the tools and give her a logical workflow using Google Reader combined with all the tools on the AGCO blog.

If you’re looking for the real deal in social media interns, look no further than Jamy — she’s a model for success in this space! AGCO better snap her up soon… :-D

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