What to Do If You Want People to Respond to Your Emails

 

Let’s face it.

People are buried in emails. It’s not unusual for pros of any industry to have hundreds or thousands of emails sitting in their inbox.

These days, those who are responsive and reachable stand out above the crowd. But what can you do to help those folks who are buried in their in-box respond to YOUR emails to them?

Try these ideas.

Determine if you really NEED a reply.

Some emails are sent just to provide information or to confirm plans. Is this a situation where you can safely assume the person will deal with the info and not need to take the time to respond? In that case, putting an FYI or “no response necessary” in the subject line can free your email recipient from feeling obligated to answer.

Make it very easy to read.

If you do need an answer, make it easy on your recipient. Keep your emails short and to the point. If you feel it’s necessary to include details, consider writing a bullet-ed summary as your first few lines, then a longer paragraph or two further down for those who like rationale and details.

Add a CTA (Call to Action) in the subject line.

If you must have a response, add a clear call to action such as “reply by Friday” in the subject line. Also make your CTA clear in the first sentence or two, and make it as easy as possible.  For example, I can meet for coffee on any of these three times (include A, B, C) Let me know which of these three is best for you.

Give yourself an out.

Set up your wording in a way that gives you permission to act even if you don’t hear back. For example,

If I don’t hear back by Friday, I will assume we should move forward with this newsletter.

Or if you want to make it softer,

Please respond by Wednesday if you want any changes. Otherwise I’ll assume I can move forward.

Be careful about how you word this and when to use this tactic. Not everyone will appreciate the tone if it’s written in a condescending way. But for repeat, non-responsive offenders, it can help you move forward while being able to prove you have communicated.

Responsiveness is an important trait if you want to be considered a true professional. Sometimes, well-meaning pros need a little help. Use these ideas to increase the chance that people will respond to you.

For more on this topic, check out this Forbes Article: Never Send a Follow Up Email: If You Want Answers, Do this Instead

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