Email has become an indispensible communication tool for working professionals. But the ease of writing and sending email has led to a proliferation of messages filling inboxes. It can be hard for people to prioritize the messages they need to respond to first. But if you are following up on a message that requires a timely response, it’s hard to communicate that urgency.
Here are some tips from The Muse for to getting a quick response that will help you and the message recipient maintain productivity.
- Don’t apologize. You’ve probably received a message that starts, “I’m sorry to bother you,” or “Sorry for clogging up your inbox.” Your email recipient gets lots of messages that start this way, too, and there’s no need to add one more. Just get to your point.
- Simplify. Stick to basic details. Don’t provide a lot of unnecessary information that only makes the message longer (and possibly more confusing). Identify the most important piece of information that you need to convey and stick with it. That makes it easier for the recipient to actually respond. You could also state your deadline, which might encourage a timely response.
- Follow up in a different way. Email responses are easy for people to put off until a later time. But by then, they may have forgotten what they were going to say and a delayed response certainly doesn’t help you take the next steps. If you want a quick response, you can probably get one by picking up the phone or even stopping by the person’s desk – if you work in the same office. These steps might be drastic but they convey urgency and will likely get a response.
- Describe your next steps. If your efforts to get a response have failed to yield one, it’s time to give a final follow-up message. Say where things stand now and what you will do next if you don’t get the response you need. In other words, The Muse explains, communicate clearly that you will move forward with or without a response. If there is no response, you will say that you completed your responsibility without a contribution from the other party. That places the burden on the message recipient to take action.
The prevalence of email in workplace communication means that professional decorum must extend to electronic communication. But there are ways communicate without sacrificing workplace productivity.
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