Wikipedia says the email open rate is a measure primarily used by marketers as an indication of how many people “view” or “open” the commercial electronic mail they send out.
Of course someone might open your email and still not read it, but they can’t read it without opening it (and don’t quibble with me about preview panes).
Open rate is an important measure in marketing. I believe the principle is also a metaphor for leaders. Think of your open rate as how many people staring back at you are actually listening. In other words, it is a measure of your ability to get attention (getting understood is the next step).
Like you I get so many emails each day that is has become a chore to keep up. Most emails–even those I originally asked to receive–I delete. Personal email gets my primary attention; ezines, offers, solicitations, webinars, freebies and the rest more often than not get instantly booted.
There is a guy in my profession whose emails I typically read. I usually open his email not because I like him (I do) but because he almost always has something interesting and/or useful to share. I feel like I’ll most likely benefit from paying attention to what he’s trying to communicate.
Emails get opened when they are consistently relevant, interesting and useful.
People pay attention to leaders who are relevant, interesting and useful. Otherwise leaders are adding to the noise, not cutting through it.
What’s your open rate as a leader?