Send work emails that get the response you need

Keep it short

Everyone emails—but not everyone responds to your emails. Six minor changes to your inbox approach can help change that.

Each day in 2015, workers sent and received approximately 112.5 billion business emails across the world, according to The Radicati Group. The average person sent and received 112 per day.

In a piece for LearnVest and Forbes, Emma Miller spoke with productivity expert Chris Bailey to learn how to craft emails coworkers and business partners will read—and reply to.

Stay short

People are most likely to respond to messages between 50 and 125 words long, according to a 2015 user analysis by Boomerang.

Limit yourself to three sentences, Bailey says. If it needs to be longer, "it might be a conversation that's better had over the phone."

Stick to a timeframe

Messages sent in the morning and during lunch have the highest response rates, according to Boomerang.

Using an email scheduler plug-in can help you hit those target send-times, Bailey says. Additionally, by only sending emails within a specific window, you set others' expectations about when you will respond.

"By sending emails only within a certain time frame, you end up managing people's expectations of when you're going to respond—so they won't expect immediate responses from you at all hours of the day," Bailey says.

Collect your thoughts before replying

Don't send responses as soon as you read your emails; think on your reply first to ensure you're succinct and include all of the necessary details.

How to send messages that students will act on

"When you hold off on responding, you have more time to connect the dots, you can form your thoughts, and ultimately, you can communicate better," Bailey says.

Be expressive

Emails with neutral language are 10 to 15% less likely to receive responses than ones with words like "great" or "bad," according to Boomerang.

Make a 'waiting for' folder

Increase mental bandwidth by making a "waiting for" email folder. Instead of trying to keep track of who has responded to you, simply put important sent emails in the folder.

"That list helps me make sure nothing slips through the cracks, and more importantly, helps me feel less uncertainty about my work. When you have unresolved commitments all in your head, it's easy to feel overwhelmed—so something like this is a powerful way to stay on top of the unknown," Bailey says.

Don't always use email

"If you're constantly drowning in long email chains when collaborating with others, that might be a cue that it's time to invest in a different system," Bailey says.

Try picking up the phone, deploying a new project management system, or meeting in person, he suggests (Miller, LearnVest/Forbes, 5/17).

Nearly 40% of students don't open emails from academic advisors

Meet Guide

You always suspected it, and a recent survey confirmed it: Many students are not reading your emails. But mobile apps offer another way to reach students. Meet Guide, our student-facing mobile app that helps you get the right message to the right students at the right time.


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