The Conversation Request Email That Gets Responses

Blank notebook with pen and crumpled paper nearby.

Sending a conversation request email can be scary, but great job opportunities don’t come along by accident. 85% of jobs are found through networking, not through job boards online.

In today’s job market, the best job opportunities are found through networking. They’re found by talking with friends-of-friends who are working close to jobs that interest you.

And talking to new people starts with you sending a conversation request email.

The problem is: it can be intimidating to reach out to people you don’t know yet. It’s hard to navigate the scary road from the blank screen to a solid outreach email that gets you a “yes.”

Fortunately, the path to “yes” is simple once you master the art of the conversation request email. Think of the conversation request email as the ”cover letter of networking.”

There is a tried-and-true formula for writing a successful conversation request email. With this conversation request email formula, you’ll be on your way to sitting down for coffee with new connections in no time!

But first, let’s look at the most common mistake and how to avoid it.

Avoid the trap of networking email templates

Do you ever sit behind your laptop, starting and restarting an email?

We’ve all been there.

At some point, you may try to escape the struggle of writing networking emails by resorting to copying networking email templates.

Two men sitting back-to-back, one on laptop and the other on phone.

But believe me—while it may seem like a shortcut, an email template can ruin a relationship before it even begins. Professionals recognize a generic email when they see one, and will delete it without a second thought.

Conversation request emails that work

So how do you find an alternative to the blank screen and the email template trap?

The answer is simpler than you think.

Writing an outreach email is hard because you think you have to impress someone new. You don’t. You need to connect with them.

So how do you do that?

Write a well-formatted email that’s customized, sentence-by-sentence. One that cuts through the noise and really connects with your contact. One they can easily read.

Your mission here is to be both professional and authentic. Be both direct with your ask and unique to your personal voice.

Myth: shorter emails are always better

There is a myth that shorter emails are always better. They aren’t.

Our research found that it is more important that emails are well-formatted and contain all the right components. Well-formatted emails allow busy professional to scan and digest them easily.

You should focus on substance and format, not the length of your email.  It should contain everything your contact needs to know, all in the right place, and nothing more. No schmoozing necessary.

Write a networking email you’d want to read

The first rule of email writing is to write ones that you’d want to receive. Put yourself in your contact’s position.

You are a busy professional with looming deadlines and a packed schedule. In your inbox, you see an email pop up from a name you don’t recognize. Curious, you scan the email.

Woman successfully networking online on her laptop at local coffee shop.

Your contact should be able to answer these three things in a quick scan:

  • How the two of you are connected to one another
  • Why your contact is the right person to help you
  • The “what,” “when,” and “why”

Our brains are wired to look for these specific things so we can process the message quickly. We get frustrated or give up if any of these pieces are missing, or if they are buried in a big block of unformatted text or flowery language.

The conversation request email formula that works

A professional email should always be formatted to be scanned, not read word-for-word. That includes a conversation request email. It should also be highly customized so it does not appear to be copied from an email template.

Here’s an example of a good conversation request email. It was drafted using MANGO’s Conversation Request Email Builder.

MANGO Conversation Request Email Builder screenshot showing nine essential ingredients for the email.

Notice the formula for the conversation request is shown on the left side in orange. It includes nine “ingredients” and a signature block, broken up into logical sections.

The three key ingredients for conversation request emails:

  1. About Me: Share something memorable about yourself that makes you, you! Say something interesting beyond your current job or alma mater. Learn the secret to writing a great “About Me” sentence.
  2. Why You: Tell your contact why you’re reaching out to them specifically. What advice do you hope they can offer? This helps them determine if a conversation would be worthwhile for both of you.
  3. Your Ask: Underline your clear ask so your contact can find it easily and know exactly what you want. Does this seem too direct? It isn’t. A common complaint about conversation request emails is that they don’t have a clear request. Your contact will appreciate that they don’t have to hunt for what you want.

Following this conversation request email formula gives you a clear structure, but not canned words. Be authentic and let your voice come through your message.

How the conversation request formula differs from an email template

The goals of a conversation request are to get a “yes” and to make a good first impression. Templated conversation request emails don’t do either of those.

There’s three main reasons the conversation request email formula works where generic email templates fail:

  1. It’s personalized so your contact sees you—not a form letter. If your contact recognizes the email template, they might relate your email to spam.
  2. It’s customized so they know what you value about a conversation with them specifically. It’s flattering to be recognized for their expertise.
  3. It’s organized so it’s easy to scan and process the necessary information quickly.

Write authentic networking emails, easily

Don’t struggle writing an outreach email the manual way. MANGO’s free Conversation Request Email Builder helps you write the perfect outreach email. Get sentence-by-sentence coaching while writing the email, without the guesswork. You can build your customized outreach email in the Conversation Request Email Builder, then copy and paste it into an email or LinkedIn message to start connecting.

Give the free Conversation Request Email Builder a spin for yourself. 

Write a conversation request email that gets you the “yes” you were hoping for! That referral you need to advance your career is only an email away.

 

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Sue Wollan Fan is the Founder & CEO of MANGO, a free networking tool whose mission is to expand opportunities for all by making networking easier, accessible, and more human. She has mentored hundreds to succeed professionally while serving as a corporate executive, nonprofit leader, tech entrepreneur, and mother of three. She is passionate about helping others do work that matters.