Love it or hate it, email remains the most pervasive form of communication in the business world. You use email for everything, from applying for jobs to communicating with your co-workers. The numbers don’t lie:
In 2014, the majority of email traffic came from the business world, which accounted for over 108.7 billion emails sent and received per day.
With so many emails flying around cyber space, it’s crazy to comprehend but this does beg the question, “how many of those 108.7 billion emails were actually opened, read and responded to?”
- According to a recent study: Organizations lose around $1,250 per user in annual productivity because of time spent dealing with spam, $1,800 per user due to unnecessary emails from co-workers, and $2,100 – $4,100 per user due to poorly written emails
To ensure you are not part of this statistic plaguing your organizations productivity, here is a collection of 8 common reasons your emails are going unanswered.
- Not using a professional account.
Syncing your professional account with your personal account may be convenient but can leave you prone to making a Hillary Clinton sized mistake by sending work email through your Gmail account. Always double-check which account you are sending your mail from.
- Writing unprofessionally.
Always keep a professional tone. That means ensuring emails have proper grammar and are free of slang. Save the emojis for texting your friends. Emails should be short and to the point. If it’s something you can’t say in just a few sentences, or you find yourself in a nonstop, back-and-forth conversation, pick up the phone and speak to the other person. Watch your bolding, caps and use of exclamation points. Appearing overly excited about another persons weekend or their morning can be weird especially if you don’t know them to well.
- Proofread every message.
You can never underestimate the power of proofreading. It can literally be the difference between “No” or “Know”. Do yourself and your reader a favor and don’t rely on spell-checkers. Read and re-read your email a few times, preferably aloud, before sending it off. While your spell checker won’t catch every mistake, at the very least it will catch a few typos. When in doubt, show a draft to a few other people to see if it’s ready to be sent.
- Not including the email thread in your reply. (No context)
Think about how many emails you receive every day. When you’re communicating with dozens of people a day, sometimes you forget where you were in a particular conversation or what the conversation was even about. When applicable, include the whole thread when responding to provide your reader the context they may need in order to reply. Although deleting the thread declutters the email and makes it appear less lengthy, in the end, it just creates confusion for the recipient.
- Lack of a signature block.
Never assume that your reader knows who you are and where you are from. Make sure you include “you” and provide your full name, title, your company name, and your desired contact information. One expert tip is to use the same font, type size, and color as the rest of your email.
- Poor subject line.
Make sure your subject line accurately describes the content of your email and gives them a concrete reason to open your message. If your subject line is vague — or even worse, if it’s blank — you have missed your first opportunity to inform or persuade your reader. Remember — your message is not the only one in your recipient’s mailbox. A clear subject line will help a busy professional to decide that your email is worthwhile.
- Attachment nightmares.
Rather than forcing you reader to download an attachment and open it in a separate program, you will probably get faster results if you just copy-paste the most important part of the document into the body of your message. Remember that attachments can carry viruses and don’t always translate correctly when read on a mobile device.
- No call to action.
Having a clear and concise sign-off is critical in setting the stage as to “what’s next” and what you are seeking from the other person. Being vague in any way sends mixed signals to your audience and could potentially dilute the importance of your message. Here’s a list of the most common ways to not end your emails.
No one wants to feel submissive to his or her inbox but since answering emails takes up almost 30% of your workweek, it’s probably a good time to see how you are measuring up in this arena. If you feel you are sinking fast, take a look at this fantastic article for ways to get ahead. Lastly, 85% of email responses come within 29 hours; which means if you are nearing that threshold on the sending end – it’s probably due to one of the reasons listed above.
The floor is yours: What else prevents emails from being answered?
Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.
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