In a Bustle article about relationship building with strangers, I share the key to getting a reply when reaching out to strangers by email. Have someone outside of your circle you'd like to connect with? Here are some key ways to up your likelihood of a response:
"Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, Levo League, etc. Be creative and find a way to establish a personal connection (within reason). Maybe you didn't attend the same school, but went to school in the same state. Use that! 'I noticed you went to Duke! I went to to Davidson. How did you like living in Raleigh? I am hoping you can help a fellow Southerner with the following situation...' The more you can establish a connection, the more likely you are to stand out."
"A cold email without a question leaves the reader confused. Why are you reaching out? Settle on one key question and make it easy for the recipient to respond."
"An email from a stranger that is lengthy and hard to get through is likely to be deleted and sent to spam. Use short paragraphs and make each sentence count. Good information to include is: who you are (on a very basic level, not a long bio), why you chose this specific recipient (Include common interests here) to reach out to and what specifically you need."
"Some email servers filter out emails from addresses they don't recognize, but particularly when they have attachments or too many links. Choose your links wisely!"