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VOL. 131 | NO. 149 | Wednesday, July 27, 2016




How to Write Emails That Get Responses

By PATRICK TAMBURRINO

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Have you ever been running to a meeting or catching a tight connection at the airport when you receive an email that needs your prompt attention? 

What’s in the body of the email and how it’s laid out will determine how quickly you’re able to react. If you can reply to the email while multitasking, your chances of responding go up exponentially. If the email has multiple questions or topics and requires a longer reply than you have time to type, you’ll likely set it aside for later.

According to a report from The Radicati Group Inc., the average business user sends and receives more than 200 emails per day. That’s a lot of emails to keep up with and compete for your attention among various receipts, newsletters and junk mail. 

So what’s the secret to crafting emails that have a better chance of being seen and answered? The Management Center, a group that provides resources and training to social change organizations across the country, suggests “The One Hand Test” to streamline the process to a swifter response. 

See if your emails can pass “The One Hand Test” by reviewing these guidelines: 

1. Start off the message stating why you’re communicating or call out what you’re asking for.

• “I need to get your approval on the requests below.” 

• “Just need your quick sign-off on the following schedule.”

2. Provide detailed but concise background information. 

• “As a reminder, we decided last month to skip X opportunity and focus on Y and Z. We decided on the deadline for Y and Z being mid-August, which means we should be finalizing the plans next week.”

3. If you are trying to get a sign off or buy in, state your reasoning and then ask a yes/no or multiple choice question. 

• “I believe we should decline the offer – do you (A) agree with that, (B) disagree, or (C) want me to find us a few minutes so we can discuss further before deciding?”

4. Give a suggestion to the question and/or problem you’re discussing and offer a recommendation to illicit a response. 

• “This is what’s going on with Client A. I think we should do X because…..is that OK?”

5. Offer a backup plan, proposed next steps and a realistic timeframe.

• “If I don’t hear from you by Thursday, I’ll respond with X.” 

Whether you’re emailing an important client contact or another executive internally, keep this method in mind. The response might just be signed, sealed and delivered quicker than you think. 

Patrick Tamburrino, the president of IT strategy, support and management firm tamburrino inc., can be reached at patrick@tamburrino.com.

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