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They’re Not Replying!

Why don't I receive email replies?

I run a couple of email etiquette websites, and what do I get asked about more than any other topic? Not receiving replies to emails.

Here are a few of the questions sent my way on a pretty regular basis. Have you wondered about these as well?

  • If you want a reply, should that be stated in the email? If you wish to receive a specific response, it is helpful to communicate this. Otherwise, recipients may not respond because the sender didn’t specifically ask them to hence, why you may feel ignored.
  • Should I ask for a reply? If you need an answer — absolutely!
  • What about if the recipients believe there is nothing to comment on or add to the conversation? This is when you use your discretion on how best to get the response you need. Be forthright and clear about your expectations. If you are the recipient, you know best if a reply, even if just acknowledging or thanking the sender for the communication, is the right thing to do. Responding promptly to those replies, even if only to send a “Thank you for the info. Hope you are doing well!” helps build relationships, avoid misunderstandings, and encourage future input. 
  • What about general informative emails addressed to a large group for informational purposes? You should not expect a reply if the email is purely informational. Otherwise, expressly set the expectation about what you would like input on. Recipients will often believe that there is no need to respond unless the information is specifically requested.

Business or Personal Emails?

You need to respond as fast as possible to impress for business emails. Prompt replies are critical to building those relationships that lend to your credibility and success.

With personal emails, ignoring friends’ emails can also have ramifications. Your lack of response or acknowledgment will make them feel unimportant to you.  Not good.

Not All Emails Require a Response

I was asked just this week if there are emails I don’t respond to. There are.

I don’t respond to emails that are:

  • Emails that are clearly for my information only.
  • Forwarded jokes
  • “Forward to all your friends.”
  • Unsolicited sales pitches.
  • Any email forwarded to me without the sender adding a specific message about why they felt I would find the forward of interest.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

My advice is if you want the recipients to take the time to reply promptly, request that they do. But keep in mind that it is your responsibility to ensure that the emails you send reflect the courtesy and clarity necessary to garner the replies you desire.

Get the word out...