So many onliners believe they are being ignored due to not receiving replies to their e-mails. I get asked about this more than any other topic. “What do I do? They’re not replying!” There will be times when no reply is necessary or should be expected.
- If someone expects a reply to an e-mail, should that be stated in the e-mail?
Not necessarily. When the time is taken to send you an e-mail, common courtesy dictates that you respond on a timely basis. To not respond because the Sender didn’t specifically ask you to, can be perceived as ignoring the sender.
- What about if there is really nothing to comment on or add to the conversation?
This is when you use your discretion. You know best if a reply, even it to just acknowledge or thank the Sender for the communication is the right thing to do. Responding promptly, even if to just send a “Thank You for the info. Hope you are doing well!” helps build relationships and avoid misunderstandings.
- What about general informative e-mails that has been addressed to a large group for informational purposes?
No need to respond unless your input is specifically requested or if you have something important to bring to the Sender’s attention about the topic(s) at hand. And, when you do, be sure to Reply only to the Sender (do not Reply to All).
I was asked just this week if there are e-mails I don’t respond to. There are. I don’t respond to forwarded jokes, forward to all your friends or any e-mail that is forwarded to me without the Sender adding a specific message to me about why they felt I would find the forward interesting.
My advice is to take the time to reply promptly to onliners who are important to you so they will respond in kind. Making sure that the e-mails you send reflect the courtesy and clarity to garner the replies you desire is all that is in your control to control.