The Biggest Improvement to Email Since Spell-Check?

crystal Know your audience – it’s a consistent rule of thumb when crafting a name for your business. You want the right words to convey the right message to the right people.

But are you applying this same strategy when crafting everyday emails?

A new tool named Crystal purports to help. With a mission of injecting empathy into online communication, it guides you on how to best communicate with customers, colleagues and clients based on their unique personality profiles.

As suggested by the name, it's a sort of "crystal ball" on how to write an email that will actually get read. After all, we are all guilty of trashing emails that don't immediately capture our attention in the first sentence, much less the email subject headline.

According to the site, “Crystal tells you the words, phrases, style, and tone you should use to reach the recipient in the way that they like to communicate, rather than your own.” Crystal develops these unique profiles through a “natural language processing” algorithm based on each person’s online presence.

Kind of creepy? You bet.

Yet, kind of helpful? Sure, especially if your emails elicit no response on a regular basis or you suspect that you're just not "e-clicking" with people the way you'd like.

crystal personality profile

I signed up for a Crystal trial, just to see how accurate it would be with people I knew well: close friends and longtime colleagues. And you know what? Crystal was scary accurate. Right down to the people who only responded to emails that were three lines or less and those who appreciated emoticons. I even checked myself out -- and yep, it nailed my habits. I especially appreciated this one: "Don't add non-essential but friendly lines like "hope you're doing well." Too bad I don't follow that rule when emailing other people.

Crystal’s “natural language processing” cheat sheet will help you write in a style that speaks to each individual. I can see this being handy for those in sales, public relations -- even journalists working a story that involves email correspondence.

After all, we all have blind spots, even over email. Perhaps you’re too verbose with those who have little time for superfluous language. Or you’re using exclamation marks in emails to people who prefer periods. Or your tone is too dry with those who prefer phrasing that is more familiar.

Crystal may be the email "crystal ball" you need.