The 7 emails that nobody wants to receive — and how to answer each one with love.

That email you just tappity-tapped out to Aunt Sadie?

It’s traveling at 85,000 miles per second — about half the speed of light.

Exponentially faster than a cheetah, a speed-boat, a Japanese magnetic levitation train, the core of a tornado — even interstellar spacecraft. Whoa.

Email is astonishing.

It’s one of the most significant, life-altering inventions of our generation.

And yet, most of us have already become numb to its wondrousness.

It’s become a drag, a chore, just another “thing to do.”

I’d like to change that.

To make email FUN again, my theory is: we’ve got to write better emails, get fewer emails and reframe the way we think about emails.

Basically …

We’ve got to teach people how to treat us — and how to email us — by modeling the kind of loving, clear, direct communication that we’d like to see in the world.

To begin? I offer you …

7 fill-in-the-blank responses for the 7 emails that NOBODY wants to receive — especially if you’re running a business, website or blog.

Copy and paste. Personalize. Kapow!

Inbox = clear as the dawn.

Not-Fun Email No. 1: “Hello, you don’t know me but … here is my entire life story.”

Hey {person’s name},

I know how much courage it takes to share your true story with another human being. I’m honored that you chose to share it with me.

I’m sending love to {their city} and wishing you lots of strength as you continue to move through {briefly describe the situation they’re dealing with, or simply say: “your current challenges.”}.

You’re clearly a strong and wise soul.

I know you can handle anything.

{Your name here}

Not-Fun Email No. 2: “Hello, you don’t know me but … I would like you to donate your time / energy / products / skills / etc in support of my project, for free.”

Hey {person’s name},

I’m honored that my work is resonating with you. Thanks for your kind words. :)

In terms of your request: I’m going to give a loving, respectful “no.”

I choose a handful of {volunteer / charitable / pro bono / philanthropic} projects at the beginning of each year.

This year, the projects I’m supporting are {name of program / charity / non-profit / etc}.

And while it’s never easy to say “no” to new opportunities and worthy causes (like yours), I need to honor my current commitments and avoid spreading myself too thin.

It sounds like you’re somebody who lives to serve others and strives to make the world a better place — so I’m sure you understand this particular challenge. If only we had clones, right? :)

Thanks again for writing. And thank you for doing the work that you do.

{Your name here}

Not-Fun Email No. 3: “Hello, you don’t know me but … I have a series of questions about my life and career that I would like you to answer, for free.”

Hey {person’s name},

That’s a terrific question! With your permission, I’d love to answer it on my {blog / podcast / radio show / webTV show / in my next book}, because I bet lots and lots of people are grappling with a very similar problem.

Sound good?

{Your name here}

P.S. In terms of the rest of your questions … I’ve already addressed most of those {on my FAQ page / in my archives / in my e-book / right over here.} Happy exploring. :)

Not-Fun Email No. 4: “Hello, you don’t know me but … I have a series of questions that you have already answered on your website, except I didn’t see them / didn’t read them.”

Hey {person’s name},

Deep thanks for writing.

It sounds like you’ve got a question about {working with me / hiring me / how I got started / how I do my hair / what my favorite spatula is / etc}.

I’ve got your answer to that question — and many others — {right over here – link to helpful page}.

Have a look. I bet you’ll find precisely what you need.

And if you have any additional q’s after that, I’ll be here. :)

{Your name here}

Not-Fun Email No. 5: “Hello, you don’t know me but … I am irrationally furious about a minor infraction that I feel you committed against me, probably because I’m deeply unhappy and desperately need somewhere to focus my seething rage.”

Hey {person’s name},

Thanks for your note. It sounds like you {ordered a product / tried to sign up for my class / tried to unsubscribe from my newsletter / tried to download such-and-such / insert action here} and something went wonky.

How frustrating! Sometimes, technology is not our friend. And sometimes, regular ol’ human mistakes do happen.

Let’s get you squared away:

{describe what they should do / what’s being done to remedy the issue}

That should take care of everything.

Thanks again for writing — and for giving me the chance to tie up a loose end. :)

{Your name here}

Not-Fun Email No. 6: “Hello, you don’t know me but … you offend my sensibilities and I just felt you ought to know.”

Hey {person’s name},

It sounds like {my work / my ideas / my writing / my communication style / my latest project / my face / my existence} has upset you.

I’m sorry to hear that — I certainly never want to create angst or discomfort for anyone.

The good news is that I’m not the only {consultant / coach / philosopher / poet / writer / healer / yogi / teacher / roller-skater} in the world. :)

There are hundreds and thousands of other people out there, sharing ideas and striving to be helpful — just like me, but differently.

I trust that you’ll find somebody else whose worldview resonates more strongly with your own.

Sending love, for the journey …

{Your name here}

Not-Fun Email No. 7: “Hello, you don’t know me but … I’d like to know why you’re taking so long to respond to my previous email (from me, the stranger you don’t know).”

To circumvent this issue, experiment with using an email auto-responder that manages people’s expectations. Like this one:

Hello, world:

Like most people, I send and receive about 100 emails a day — and write about a novel’s worth of emails a year.

Some weeks, I’m able to clear my inbox with astonishing speed.

Other weeks, not quite so much.

If you’re reading these words, it means I’m having a “not quite so much” week.

Thank you in advance for your patience.

And while you wait for a reply to your note, why not {watch this inspiring video / learn a new dance move / take a nap / explore my blog archives / peek at my upcoming tour schedule / hug somebody / close your laptop and go play in the sunshine}?

Back soon-ish,

{Your name here}

P.S. I know that auto-responder messages like this one can be annoying, but nobody has ever died from not-getting-an-instantaneous-email-reply-itis. Not even me. And I am tremendously impatient. ;)