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Advise Your Expectations for a Reply

Advise your expectations for email replies.

If a sender expects a reply to an email, should it be stated in the email? For example, “Please respond…..” or “I expect a response…” could be used. But is that the tone that will get the response you desire?

One would think folks would just reply. After all, it is easy to do, even with just a simple couple-word acknowledgment. But they don’t.

What if you really need a response, and it never comes? Have you considered if the recipient is intentionally ignoring you? It does happen.

Yes, Responding is Common Courtesy

When someone takes the time to email another, common courtesy dictates that the recipient should respond quickly. However, some use the excuse that because the sender didn’t specifically ask for a response, they didn’t. For me, this indicates they do not want to answer.

If you are frustrated by a contact that doesn’t respond, there are only two reasons why.

  1. They didn’t get the email. Your communications was misidentified as spam or there was a typo in their address.
  2. They don’t want to respond.

When you need an answer, it can help to ask to instigate the response you desire. For example, “What do you think? Let me know, okay?”

Of course, not replying doesn’t apply to spam, forwarded chain letter emails, or emails sent to folks you don’t know very well. Were you spammy? That could be why you didn’t receive a response.

Are those you sent to actual contacts open to receiving your email? If not, this is probably why you didn’t receive a response.

Do Mass Emails Count?

What about a general email addressed to a large group for informational purposes? As far as informative mass emails, a reply is not expected unless you expressly state otherwise.

For mass mailings, if you’re going to solicit replies from everyone you send to, include a statement to that effect. Then, send the original email to your email address and note all those email addresses in the BCc: field. This prevents unnecessary emails from the entire list by recipients hitting Reply to All while protecting their privacy from your contacts that others do not know.

A quick follow-up in a day or two will suffice if you are met with silence even after asking. Still no reply? Pick up the phone, or maybe it is time to take a hint.

Get the word out...