How to Get a Person to Respond to an Email

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You know the frustration. You sent out that email hoping for a timely reply, but the person just isn't responding. It may be that your email didn't send out enough signals for the recipient to prioritize it. Getting a quick response often requires some strategy on your part.

  • Be brief when writing your email. Making your recipient dig through information discourages a timely response. People typically go through their emails and answer the easiest ones first.

  • Ask specific questions. Many times, emails go without a response, because the recipient is unsure of what you are looking for. When you are specific, there is no doubt.

  • Avoid open-ended questions that require long answers. Ask questions that can be answered in a few words. This makes it easy for people to quickly respond to your emails.

  • Limit the number of people receiving your email. Learn to use blind carbon copy (BCC). If the recipient sees a long list of people, they may assume that someone else has taken care of the matter, and that a response is not necessary.

  • State in your email that you need a response by a certain time. If that time arrives without a reply, follow up with another email.

  • Set your email program to request a "Read Receipt." There is a possibility that your email may get lost in cyberspace, and a receipt indicates whether your email was received.

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