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  • Writer's pictureKristen Herring-Asleson

Respond to Your Damn Emails!

In today’s world, between work and home-life, people are busy. Whether or not you have children no longer seems to matter, although it does add a few things to the calendar. Having a paper calendar on the wall is a great way to keep our family organized, and every little activity is written down. In fact, each family member has a color code, so we can easily tell who has to be where or who may be gone or on a call and so on down the line.

Emails from activity coordinators flood my in-box on a daily basis. Because I am a person who detests having even one notification on my device or laptop, I read the emails as they come in. And, if there is a conflict that perhaps the coordinator did not know about that involves more than just my child, I am quick to reply. I reply not because I am attempting to point out a mistake has been made, but rather wanting them to be aware of a situation that will most likely arise.

This recently happened when a church event conflicted with our school’s holiday concert. Knowing the proposed date involved several other children, I let the coordinator know immediately. In response, she was thankful and sent out an email with alternatives.

A couple days later, she circled back. I received a text, “You are the only person who has responded to either of my emails, so far. Thanks for letting me know your plans.”

You can see from her message my response was appreciated. Now, I know that the sheer volume of messages I receive is great, so I cannot imagine the number of emails one receives if they are uber important in the workplace and have numerous activities to coordinate outside of work as well. But, let us not be selfish and think we are not the only ones in the world who have calendaring responsibilities. Everyone deserves a response, and even more so, in a timely manner.

Although responding in a timely fashion is important no matter what the request is, it is crucial to do so in the business world. By taking too long to respond, that silence sends an unintended message to current clients as well as potential clients that they are low on the totem pole. Sending prompt email responses show they are important, and you want to keep them happy.

For the most part, those who send emails (this can also include voicemails left) need a response sooner than later. If this is a potential client or customer, it is possible they didn’t just end their search to find what they need with just you.

Chances are pretty high they sent multiple emails to a variety of those who could fulfill their need, and the first to respond will win their business. Unless you answer your emails, you will never know where the interaction would have led.

How many times have you said to yourself, “I am too busy”. “I will respond later”. It isn’t that important, they can wait”. Really? Those are your excuses? Letting emails pile up only creates more work for the next day, and the next day, and the next.

Put yourself in the sender’s shoes, or maybe you have experienced this and forgotten. Respond to others as you yourself want to be responded to. We all have different ways of dealing with emails, so find one that gets the job done and stick with it. If you have to set an autoreply to let the person know you will respond within so many hours or a business day, then do so. At least it gives an indication as to when they can look forward to a response.

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