‘I hope you’re well.’
Is there a more cliched, insipid phrase in the modern business world?
You might as well start your email with ‘Brace yourself; you’re about to get sold to’.
Unless you know the recipient and are aware of a recent health problem, there’s no justification any more for using this terrible phrase.
The thing is, it’s such an easy phrase to use. I’ve used it myself and still wake in the small hours with a feeling of self-loathing occasionally.
I’ve even tried some variants like ‘Hope all is well’ and ‘Hope business is good’, but they smack of desperately trying to avoid saying IHYW.
What’s the alternative?
You could get straight to the point. Why not try writing the email with the line in, then deleting it to see if it stands up. Chances are it probably will.
If it’s a cold email, you could invest some time in looking up the recipient on LinkedIn and check out some of their posts or company’s posts to find something interesting to say.
‘Hi Customer, I saw your post about the thing and totally agree with you. That thing has been the bane of my life for some time, and I dealt with it by doing a different thing.’
It’s a bit more engaging and shows you’ve taken an interest in them, at least.
If you know the customer a bit, you could start with some current affairs. In the UK, the weather is always a safe bet as it’s so bloody changeable.
‘Hi, Customer, If your keyboard hasn’t frozen/melted/flooded in this weather, have you had a chance to read the email I sent last week?’
When you start thinking about it, there are hundreds of different ways to start an email. You just need to think about it.
Oh, and don’t use ‘So’ as a starter. That’s something else that needs to stop.