Money Matters

Your Credit Union Newsletter

The Lazy Brain


We’ve all been there. We have the best products/services, but when we reach out to potential clients we’re met with silence—no response.

According to the “bible of business,” the Harvard Business Review (HBR), often the issue isn’t the offering but the need to keep things simple. Research shows that we’re a rather lazy species and don’t like complexity. Here’s why. The average brain is hard-wired for simplicity and has the equivalent of about 20 megabytes of RAM—enough to process four photos on your smartphone.

This doesn’t mean our phones are smarter than us—just that our brains like things to be easy and predictable, including written communications. This creates a Catch 22 for those of us who sell for a living—because you too like things quick and easy, meaning you don’t want to spend much time working and reworking an email!

To help you get it right the first time, and turn those cool or warm leads into hot ones and generate sales faster and more reliably, here are a few powerful tips and guidelines when sending a personalized email—from our friends at

When emailing clients, DO:

  • Use a specific subject line so readers know exactly what your email is about. Post a “call to action” in the subject line, such as “Please respond by August 1.”
  • Delete previous, unnecessary text from earlier responses when you reply.
  • Send one- or two-word confirmations or responses in the subject line, such as “Yes” or “Date confirmed,” followed by EOM for “end of message.” That way, recipients don’t have to open the email to learn your response.
  • Respond in a timely fashion. Urgent messages immediately, others within 24 hours, even if you are simply telling the recipient “more information to follow.”
  • Be aware that different social and cultural groups and geographical regions can have different communication subtleties. Avoid potential pitfalls by not using slang or jargon. Keep it nice and simple.

When emailing clients, DON’T:

  • Habitually bold, underline, italicize or capitalize WORDS or phrases. Unless used carefully, this can make emails hard to read; even seem rude.
  • Experiment with humor or creative writing styles that could leave the recipient offended or confused.
  • Share intimate or potentially negative/intemperate thoughts over email.
  • Send large attachments before first confirming the recipient’s server can open them.
  • Jazz up emails with fancy fonts, colors, emoticons or other graphics. They can be distracting and look unprofessional.
  • Insert the recipients’ names into the “To” field until after you have carefully proofed your email.
  • Use emails to speak to issues of conflict or other sensitive topics. Pick up the phone, or better yet, meet face-to-face.

Above all, follow the golden rule of don’t write anything you would not be okay with seeing on network TV. The other rule—always check with your Credit Union first for advice and a quote on valuable business “tools” like our low-cost Agency Secured Loans. Like a good email, a Credit Union Agency Loan will address your needs without making life complicated.

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