Everyone has Email. People use Email many times throughout their work day. Email gives people important information and enables everyone to progress in their work. What do you do when you send an Email and then you wait and wait.
When you do get an Email response (after waiting a really long time sometimes), is it succinct and relevant to what you need or is it long and completely useless? When that happens, there is a good possibility that you won’t be able to make any progress in your work until you get the response that you need.
It is possible that the way that you have worded your Email originally caused the response on the other side to be less than what you need. Your Email should never be phrased in a way that causes the reader to avoid answering you or ignoring what you are asking for. There are some ways in which you can avoid this issue and then you will get what you need from the person on the other end.
- Give a deadline: All people are deadline driven and time oriented. When considering the deadline to give, you should go with the shortest amount of time possible (within reason). Human beings never respond well to long deadlines. If they see that a deadline is generous and they are not compelled to start working right away because they feel that they have more time, they will procrastinate until the end of the time period. Psychologically, they will think that they have all of the time in the world. If, on the other hand, you give them a short deadline, it will nag at them and they will address it much more quickly because they will want to get it out of the way as soon as possible. It is also a good idea to put the deadline in bold type so that stands out very well for them. It is an excellent idea to follow up halfway into the time period (for example, if you have given them a deadline of 2 weeks, follow up 1 week after you have sent out the original Email).
- Short and sweet: The most effective Emails are the ones that are short and to the point. It is not a bad idea to use bullets for the important points that you want your recipient to pay attention to. If the Email is long, it won’t be read. If it isn’t read, you won’t get what you need. Your Emails should be short, to the point, and polite but firm. The tone of the Email is very important.
- Tell them what you want: Something that is obvious but that people seldom do when writing an Email is actually ask for a response. It should be understood but it actually shouldn’t be taken for granted because there are too many times when it doesn’t occur to the recipient that he or she has an obligation to respond. Your Email subject line should clearly and concisely state what you need. The information in your subject line should address the needs of the recipient, not just your needs. If you are unsure if you have successfully conveyed what you need to convey clearly in your subject line, use the first paragraph for the same purpose.
- Never put more than one recipient on your Email: If you need to send the same Email to several business associates, do it in separate Emails. If you have multiple recipients on the same Email, the recipients will not feel that they are as valued by you. You never want to give them that sort of impression. It is worth the effort of sending out however many duplicate Emails you need to because it is the correct and most appropriate way to behave. You will most likely get responses from the majority of the recipients.
- Send as few Emails as possible: When communicating through Emails, try to really make the ones that you send count. If people receive several Emails from you throughout the day, they will be less likely to take you seriously (kind of like the boy who cried “wolf”). Then, when you finally send the Email that is important and that requires a response that matters, you won’t get it. Pick your Email “battles” carefully.
If you follow the tips that are suggested above, you will see that you will have greater success with your Email communications. Everyone is so busy throughout the day, the last thing that anyone wants is to waste time on Emails that don’t matter. Being considerate and discreet about how you are communicating through Email and how many you choose to send is critical to your relationship with the other person and you will see positive results. On the other side, if you are waiting more than 2 days for an Email response, the other person is not behaving appropriately. If you build a strong and mutually considerate relationship, that should never be an issue. You should always respect each other and behave in a professional manner.
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Carolyn Cohn is the Chief Editor of CompuKol Communications LLC. Mrs. Cohn has a wealth of experience in business writing as well as having a strong editorial background. She manages all of the company’s writers, journalists and editors as well as writing, editing and publishing several business articles a week on a consistent basis, which are syndicated globally.
Mrs. Cohn has run several editorial departments for other companies. She has over 25 years of editorial experience and her expertise covers a wide range of media, such as online editing, and editing books, journal articles, abstracts, and promotional and educational materials.
Throughout her career, Mrs. Cohn has established and maintained strong relationships with professionals from a wide variety of companies. The principle that governs her work is that all words need to be edited.
Mrs. Cohn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo.
Mrs. Cohn is a member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA).
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