How to write
Alok Rodinhood Kejriwal
Founder – therodinhoods.com
What inspired this deck?
• As a founder of a 15 yr startup group (based in
India) I have received zillions of e-mail proposals
– Badly constructed or framed
– Too long-winded & ‘foggy’ to bother to read
– Don’t seem to make an impression on
WHY I should respond
– Seem more laden with vanity than humility
• I want to make people write better mails!
WHO is this deck meant for?
• Entrepreneurs, students, young freshly minted
professionals, social workers, volunteers in NGOs,
anyone who has just started working and needs to polish
their communication skills.
• Graduates from science, tech, who have not had
exposure to communications and soft skills (specifically
• EXPERTS in communication, CEOs, Business leaders,
folks who have ‘been there, done that’ and who can
review this deck, ADD their expertise and make this
5 steps to writing effective e-mails
• Simple, direct
• Crisp, impactful
• Informative, intriguing
3. Give Context
• Important, obvious
4. Explain benefit to receiver
• Commitment seeking
5. End with call for action
• Please, please, please DON’T write things like:
“Dear Alok, Hope this finds you in the
pink/red/green/yellow of heath, wealth or death…”
(I am brown and happy to be so)
“Dear Amok/ Adok/ Ashok/ Ahok” (my name is Alok
so be VERY CAREFUL about cut paste mails and
mail software that mismatch names).
• Keep it Simple and Direct and based on your relationship
and the context of your mail:
“Alok, hope you are well.”
“Hey Alok, it was nice meeting you.”
“Hi Alok, connecting after a long time.”
“Dear Alok, pardon this sudden intrusion of your time.”
• Keep the introduction crisp, brief and IMPACTFUL!
“I am the co-founder and CEO of a globally ranked gaming
company – games2win.com”
“I am the founder of therodinhoods.com – a leading social
network of Indian entrepreneurs”
“I represent the Art of Living – the world’s largest NGO dedicated
to improving the lives of people”
“I am an entrepreneur dedicated to changing the way the people
in the world manage their contacts”
“I work for a startup that’s been featured on TechCrunch twice
and is obsessed by creating a solution that allows apps to play
on all platforms…”
• This is the most important part of your
e-mail. Take pains to explain:
– What you want from the recipient
– Why you want what you want
– Any important information that may make the
reader interested, intrigued, curious, or ‘wow’
– Provide real, factual, hard hitting pointers or
data that make the reader appreciate your pitch
• Why should the receiver react to your
– What’s the benefit to the recipient?
– What makes the mail something the receiver
immediately wants to respond to or pass on to
someone else for prompt action?
– Even goodwill is a benefit! Just tug at the
heartstrings if there is no commercial benefit!
5. Call for Action
DON’T end your mail with “look forward to your
revert”. PLEASE end with a call for action. It always
– Can I meet you on Thursday at 3 pm? All I need is 10
– Is it possible for you to reply marking a cc to those I
could follow up with?
– I understand you are speaking at x conference on
Friday. Can I meet you after your session for 7-8
– Please let me get on a call with you? I need precisely
6 minutes on the outside!
– Please reply saying “Yes!”
• Are very important!
– Please remember NOT to forward mails to start a
new discussion. (Fwd: looks ugly on the subject
line and immediately makes me switch off).
– Use interesting, intriguing lines. Avoid long-
winded lines/lines that include “A winning
proposal/an offer you can’t refuse”, etc.
– What’s worked on me are lines like, “This needs
your attention”; “May I request…”; “I’m not sure
you are aware...”; “I have to bring this to your
attention”, “This is a personal request”, etc.
Check these subject lines
(USA Democrats office)
A perfect e-mail I
received last week!
It provoked me to
visit the site and
Notice the Subject
line, the introduction
(with slight flattery),
humble request and
stated benefit to
They appealed, I
If you have a celebrity in-house,
use him or her!
• Rather than sharing more examples, let’s do this:
- Assume that I am starting the
“Indian Institute of Entrepreneurs” (IIE) that will teach, educate,
mobilize and fund Indian entrepreneurs.
- Can you write me a mail pitching why I should meet you in this
regard? You could be ANYONE – an entrepreneur pitching social
media marketing; an apps Company; a brick & mortar business that
is a recruiting consultant or one that does interiors!
You could pitch to teach, to consult or be the gardener!
- Write a mock mail [let the subject line end with (#MockMail)] to
I will also send you instant feedback! This will be an inclusive,
Connect with me!
e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter - @rodinhood
My social network for anyone