Companies expect email exchanges at work to be productive and meaningful. For that reason, when you find your emails too often receive an inadequate or untimely response, you can find yourself feeling frustrated and helpless. Rather than committing to an ongoing fruitless communication chain, you should employ drafting strategies that will get the replies you need from the start. Try these techniques for composing messages that pull in the right replies when you need them most.
Minimize Group Messages
Sending all-group online messages is a great way to disseminate information; compare that form of efficient distribution to the posting of papers on bulletin boards or dropping hard-copy memos into employees’ mailboxes. However, when you need a response, sending your message generally to a group can lead to confusion. Instead, direct your message to the one important recipient you must hear from. Otherwise, no one will know for certain who should respond, and everyone will defer that responsibility assuming some else will do so.
Use Lists To Outline Your Message
When an email contains a box full of text, the recipient can find it challenging to find the key information among the words. Instead, highlight your message by using visually-accessible text that includes numbered or bulleted lists. By replacing paragraphs with lists you make it is easier for your readers to glean your intent. Use numbered lists to emphasize levels of significance for each section of your message; this can help ensure that you get a response for the most important matters immediately. Use bulleted lists to indicate that the content is of equal importance.
Cut Down on Your Wording
Coworkers will delay responding to you if you continually compose lengthy and convoluted messages. They are not being willfully negligent; they are challenged to keep on top of the daily barrage of information that comes their way. Whenever possible, keep your message short. Also, write using a hierarchical structure: Place important wording toward the top and clarifying information further down; too often, readers do not always make it all the way to the end of the message before they start writing a response.
Back-and-forth communication is one of the backbones of business. Nowhere is communicating efficiently more important than in emails, where it is too easy to overlook nuances in the text. If you want your coworkers to respond appropriately to your messages, compose them so that they are clear and directed; your peers will appreciate the effort.