It’s always better to assume that whoever you’re emailing has more important things to do than reply to your message.
As a journalist who frequently reviews and edits submissions, I often find myself switching between writing and reading follow-up emails. And if there’s anything that being on the sending and receiving end of these have taught me, it’s that many of the tactics people use aren’t very effective (and are really annoying at best).
As a sender, I’ve learned that it’s best to work from the assumption that whoever I’m writing to probably has more pressing matters to attend to than answer my emails. This forces me to make sure I articulate why it’s in the receiver’s interest to reply. As a receiver, there’s nothing more annoying than getting an email that assumes I’ll work to the sender’s timeline, even when it’s clear that it’s extremely inconvenient to mine, or when there’s no benefit to me whatsoever.
Of course, this is just one of the many dos and don’ts to think about when writing a follow-up email. Here are others you might want to consider before sending your next one, particularly if you need a response urgently.
Make It As Easy For The Recipient As Possible
Don’t Create More Work For The Recipient
Be Polite And Respectful Of Their Time
Don’t Be Unnecessarily Pushy Or Passive Aggressive
Include Specifics And A Call To Action In Your Subject Line
Don’t Use A Vague Or Generic Subject Line
Only Send Your Email To The Person Concerned
Don’t Copy Others On Email When You Don’t Need To