How to Start an Email, According to a Data Scientist

iStock.com/Jelena Danilovic
iStock.com/Jelena Danilovic

Whether you're reaching out to an old professor or emailing a new colleague for the first time, setting the right tone at the top of your email is vital. The right greeting can lure the recipient in, give them a sense of your personality, and open them up to what you have to say. On the other hand, a miscalculated one may have them hitting delete before they get to the first line. Some people focus on making their business emails sound professional, but according to Boomerang data scientist Brendan Greenley, this doesn't always produce the best results. If you're looking to get a response, you should start off with a greeting that's casual and friendly rather than overly formal.

As laid out in a 2017 blog post reported by Travel + Leisure, Greenley analyzed more than 300,000 threads from public message archives to determine which greetings yielded the most responses. Casual greetings were most successful by far, with "Hey" ranking first with a 64 percent response rate, followed by "Hello" with 63.6 percent, and "Hi" with 62.7 percent.

More formal responses were still more likely to get a response than not, but by a smaller margin. People who started off their message with "Greetings" had a 57.2 percent chance of hearing back. For people who opened with "Dear," that chance was 56.5 percent.

Erring toward professionalism may seem like a safe bet, but a stodgy greeting may do you more harm than good. People often use formal language when emailing someone they don't know very well or someone they dislike, according to a study Greeley cites. By choosing more casual terms you can make your email feel like it's coming from a friend—even if you haven't met the recipient yet. But adopting an easy-going tone shouldn't mean putting zero effort into crafting your message. Proper grammar, punctuation, and brevity can also go a long way.

Of course, context is key: Greenley sampled these messages from online communities, which tend to be more casual than professional settings. So, if you don't think the president of your company would appreciate an email that starts off with "Hey," it's best to go with your gut.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Scotland Could Become the First Country to Provide Universal Period Products to Citizens

emapoket, iStock via Getty Images
emapoket, iStock via Getty Images

Fears over where to find—and how to afford—sanitary products before their next menstrual cycle may no longer be an issue for people in Scotland. Earlier today, as the BBC reports, Members of Scottish Parliament passed the first part of a bill that would make items like pads and tampons free to the public.

The Period Products Bill was first put forth in 2017 to address period poverty, which affects people who are unable to afford essential menstrual hygiene products. Pads, tampons, and some reusable menstrual items are currently available to students in primary schools and universities in the country. The Scottish government has also expanded the program to include additional public places and sports clubs, but this new bill goes even further. If passed, Scotland would become the first country to provide free period products to citizens on a universal scale.

Ministers in the Scottish Parliament were initially concerned about the bill's £24 million ($31 million) annual price tag, but earlier this month, members of all parties in the government came out in support of the legislation. Though the bill passed through the first stage of parliament today, February 25, the BBC wrote that "The government is expected to put forward a raft of amendments to address their 'significant' concerns about the legislation," including the aforementioned cost.

Period poverty is an issue that's felt around the world. In America, many lawmakers are fighting to end the "tampon tax": a sales tax that's added to sanitary products and waived from other hygiene products deemed essential in many states, like dandruff shampoo.

[h/t BBC]

10 Simple Tricks for Charging Your Smartphone Faster

Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images
Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images

Smartphones always seem to reach low power at the least convenient moments possible. If you've ever urged your device to charge faster in the minutes before a phone interview or when you're about to board a plane, you can relate. While the easiest way to avoid this scenario is to plug in your device before the battery dips into the danger zone, if you've already reached this point, there are simple ways to speed up the charging process.

Some hacks for charging a phone faster involve steps you can take in anticipation of the next time you're surviving on minimum energy. Certain gadgets, like special chargers and battery packs, will power-up your device more efficiently than others. For moments when your phone is dying and all you have is your regular charging cable, adjusting your phone's settings to minimize the power it consumes also works in a pinch.

You can find some specific ways to charge your phone quickly below: 

  1. Plug it into a wall outlet instead of a USB port.
  1. Use a portable battery pack.
  1. Buy a special "fast" phone charger.
  1. Switch to low power mode.
  1. Switch to airplane mode.
  1. Let your phone drain completely on its own once a month to the extend the battery life.
  1. Close any background apps.
  1. Stop automatic app updates.
  1. Don't check your phone while it's charging
  1. Keep your phone out of the heat.

For more tricks for making your phone usage more efficient, check out these tips for typing faster.

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