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Take lots of small risks

Everyone has a ‘risk muscle.’ You keep it in shape by trying new things. If you don’t, it atrophies. Make a point of using it at least once a day.
Roger von Oech

A few weeks ago I got a plea for help by email. It read something like this:

“My job is on the line if you don’t fill out this survey”

This was a follow up email for people who hadn’t filled out the survey earlier. The whole email was overly dramatic. Though it was written to come across as serious, you know it is a joke.

When your sample size is in the thousands, you’re going to get some interesting reactions. When you send an email like the one I received, you’re going to get reactions.

This week, I had a phone call with the person who wrote the email. I asked her: How many complaints did you get? Did people think you were actually going to lose your job?

She said people wrote back with some positive feedback. She also received a few emails from people who thought she was serious. They were upset at the pressure they felt to fill out the survey.

In terms of getting people to fill out the survey, the email worked really well. I’ve seen the numbers, but unfortunately don’t have permission to share them.

Taking risks is how you learn what works and what doesn’t. The important thing is to learn.

Here are some ideas of things you can try in your emails:

  • Add your phone number, and invite people to set up a time to talk
  • Try using a customer story in an email (like the one above)
  • Put in a funny picture (my favorites are meme pictures like the one below)
    Grumpy Cat

Just a few ideas for you to get you started.

What risks have you taken this week? What’s the most surprising thing that has worked for you?