If there’s one phrase that’s notoriously overused in emails, it’s “I hope this email finds you well.” Whether you’re the sender or the recipient, it’s no secret that this phrase is nothing more than a nicety thrown in at the beginning of the email before you get to the real point.
But with attention spans at an all-time low and busy lifestyles, you can’t afford to waste valuable email real estate with a phrase nobody cares about. Instead, you can opt for exciting alternatives recipients don’t always come across every day without wasting a sentence on the same, cliche phrase.
So, whether you’re following up after an interview, networking with people from your industry or simply reaching out to an old friend, here are 12 of the best alternatives for every situation that works better than “I hope this email finds you well.”
Use these alternatives in formal correspondence. Whether it’s a business-related email, an update you’re providing to the CEO or welcoming the newest hire to the team, these can still work better than “I hope this email finds you well.” We’ve broken them down into different scenarios. However, make sure the rest of the email remains in a similar tone to the introduction.
1. “Thank you for the quick response.”
This alternative is foolproof in a particular situation. If somebody has replied to your email in a timely fashion, reference the speedy response and thank them for it. It acknowledges that you’re genuinely grateful for the response time, their input and the value they’re adding. Plus, it’s genuine compared to the generic option.
2. “Allow me to introduce myself.”
Simple, to the point and relevant. This alternative works best if you’re networking or reaching out to someone for the first time. It exudes confidence and tees you up nicely to talk about yourself and the purpose of you reaching out in the first place. Plus, it’s a nice bridge into the request, rather than diving in cold right away.
3. “I know you’re busy, so I’ll be brief.”
An email opener like this goes a long way as it suggests you value the recipient’s time and you’ve considered that. It shows you’re making an effort to keep things short, sweet and straightforward. However, this only really works if your email is actually brief. It won’t work as it should if you promise to be quick, only to write paragraph after paragraph.
4. “It’s great to hear from you.”
Another traditional email opener that doesn’t fall in the overused bracket. It’s an effortless way to build a great rapport with the recipient quickly. Like most other alternatives, only use this if you mean it. If you’re glad the person responded, go on to explain why. Diving into an explanation after using this email opener reaffirms that you’re honestly happy they replied.
5. “I’m keen to get your help/an update on…”
If you need help, advice, an update or anything else from the recipient, use this line to politely ask them the question right off the bat. In situations like these, it’s common to use “I hope this email finds you well” before using the alternative right after it. But the email is just as powerful and relevant by removing the former and getting right to the point.
6. “[Name] told me to reach out to you.”
Perfectly appropriate in a scenario where you were pointed in the direction of the correct recipient, such as a hiring team providing you with the hiring manager’s email address, this line establishes a connection right away.
Let’s assume you wanted to send your resume and portfolio. You could mention the person’s name the recipient recognizes to establish trust and are likely to continue reading. Going in too cold with no relevant introduction can seem quite generic as it isn’t tailored to the reader enough.
If you have an excellent relationship with the recipient and you’re in regular contact with them, you don’t need to also default to “I hope this email finds you well.” You likely have a great rapport with them and the recipient understand the tone you use in general, so you can afford to alternate.
7. “Can you get back to me by…”
Is your back up against the wall or do you need the status of a project? Use this alternative to set a deadline right away and it establishes the timeframe as you’re dictating it. It also subtly showcases that it isn’t to be negotiated and you need something in return by the date you decide.
8. “How did [project/event/meeting] go?”
This email alternative works in two ways. One, it shows you care about the recipient enough to ask them about the subject in question and that you pay attention. Secondly, it’s a great transition into the main point of your email, especially if it’s an awkward topic to navigate.
9. “I’m reaching out because…”
This one might feel odd to use, especially since you’d be diving into your message with no preamble whatsoever. However, this doesn’t always come across as rude, as long as the rest of the email follows suit. In fact, with short attention spans and busy lifestyles, some recipients might appreciate the brevity.
Use this sparingly, especially if you know the recipient is busy and prefers getting to the point.
10. “How was your weekend?/Any exciting plans for the weekend?”
If you’re writing an email at the beginning of the week or the end of the week, throw in a little ice-breaker and ask about weekend plans. It’s a great transition into the main point of the email and an excellent way to break up what could be a clogged inbox for the recipient.
11. “Are you excited for [subject].”
It could be an interview, promotion, event, Christmas, vacation, the latest episode of Ted Lasso — anything the recipient has going on in their lives. This tends to work best with somebody you know well and have communicated with before. The first email you send with this opener can backfire, as there’s no initial rapport.
If it’s a colleague or a loyal client, see what’s coming up in their life and reference it to break things up.
12. “Sorry to add to your inbox.”
Obviously, you aren’t genuinely sorry for sending the email, especially if you have an important message or update. However, this is a nice way of being apologetic and acknowledging how busy the recipient is. Plus, this isn’t an email opener the reader is likely to come across a lot, so it’s bound to grab their attention right away.
Why Avoid “I Hope This Email Finds You Well”?
The phrase is harmless. However, it’s still overused and ends up quite an impersonal introduction. The recipient has seen so many uses of this phrase, it becomes second nature and they’re likely to skip over it and remain unengaged throughout the rest of the email. You want the email to be engaging, personalized and specific, so avoid using the cliche and start mixing it up with one of the alternatives listed above.