Scaling the Future: Allen Lau's Advice for Writing Professional Email

Wattpad Co-founder and CEO Allen Lau is one of the newest contributors to, a leading site for business news, ideas, and inspiration.

His Column, Scaling the Future, will examine the challenges startups face in the innovation economy. It will also outline advice for entrepreneurs rooted in real world experience. An excerpt of his third column is enjoyable below and in full here


Writing a professional email that results in a clear action is truly an artform. This may sound harsh, but no one is obligated to respond to an unsolicited email.

Time is a valuable resource and surveys show that the average American employee can spend upwards of six hours a day in their inbox! If that's the average, you can imagine what it's like for senior executives. Many view Inbox zero as a unicorn-like myth.

I'm not unlike the average American--I receive and send a flood of emails. While writing, I always keep this 3-point checklist in mind. It increases the odds of a response every single time.

  1. Ensure they open your email
  2. Ensure they've read and understood your email
  3. Ensure they respond

Keep them in mind and you can reach people on every rung of the corporate ladder. If you want to take your emailing writing a step further, consider these tips:

Leverage Your Professional Network for An Attention Grabbing Email Introduction

A great way to get your email opened is by way of introduction. As someone who's grown a massive social network, I can attest to the value of social proof. An introduction from someone connected to the person you want to reach will instantly increase your credibility and thereby your odds of an email reply.

At minimum, you should be able to authentically reference the name of a project or person your contact can recognize. If your email doesn't command attention, it risks falling to the bottom of an infinite inbox.

Read Allen's Full Post on INC