The #1 Most Common Email Mistake

12:25:00 AM

Have you ever forgotten to respond to an email?  
It's one of the worst feelings.  You might feel guilty.  You might feel like you made a bad impression.  You might worry that you burned a bridge.   How do you recover?  You better come up with a darn good response.  It must be well-written.  It must be thoughtful.  It's substance must justify such a delay.   Your response cannot be a simple, dead-end, yes/no response.  That would be insulting.  The more time that passes without responding, the more you feel like you need an amazing response. 

How/why does this happen?  
You open your inbox.  It's flooded.  You give each email about 30 seconds to make sure you catch any "fires."  You'll come back to the less urgent emails, of course.   Pretty soon you're knee deep into your day.  More emails pile up.  By the end of the day you end up with dozens of "flagged" emails and vow to "clean them out" by the end of the week.   But.... life happens.  

What is my #1 tip to prevent this?
"Flagging" emails is not enough.   My #1 tip is to make yourself to respond to all emails before closing them out, even if it's a five-second response.   This will make the person feel like you're listening, you value the relationship, and you're attentive to their needs. AND it will be human nature for them to offer you the same level of prompt communication in the future.  All it takes is five-seconds!  Win!  Also, you'll see that if someone is expecting a deliverable I like to end my emails with a "Stand by...".  That phrase communicates a sense of urgency and prioritization of their needs.  Okay, on to some five second response examples:
  • "Sounds good! Let me dig into this and get back to you shortly.  Stand by..."
  • "I appreciate the feedback.  Let me see what I can do. Stand by..."
  • "It's so great to hear from you!  I'll be in meetings all day, but let me get back to you tomorrow."
  • "I need to discuss this with my team first, but let's circle back at the end of the week."
Try this with your inbox for a week and see how it works!


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