But here's the approach I prefer:
- Get to the point quickly. The first sentence should say, "RO, can you help me with [my love life, my financial situation, telling me how to get rid of this stupid demon, getting better reception during conjurations, etc.]?"
- Give me a synopsis of the causes and effects of the situation; provide enough detail to put the problem in context, and get rid of the stuff that doesn't really matter.
- Let me know what you really want to have happen, your ideal solution.
While I enjoy being told how cool I am, and I really like the emails from Africa that start, "GREAT LORD RUFUS," the praise and stuff isn't necessary. Feel free to skip ahead.
Now please note, this applies to people who haven't purchased my time. When I was doing the Supernatural Assistant Course, I encouraged people to take their time to tell me all their problems. I signed up for that, in that context, and it was fun. The most fun I've had in years, in fact. I miss giving that course.