How To Follow Up On Unanswered Emails

August 8, 2018

The average worker sends and receives about 122 business emails a day, according to one estimate. With all those emails siting in an inbox there's a chance your will not get its due attention and fade off into digital obscurity without a reply. So how many chances do you get to “follow up,” “touch base” or “circle back” on an unanswered email before your attempts grow unbearably annoying? And how do you avoid that predicament altogether? Email etiquette say you get two tries after the initial email goes unanswered. The second is a "check in" expressing your need for an answer to the subject of the email.  Your third (which is your final) should be direct in telling the person what you need from them, and the timeline in which you need it as well as what your next steps are if you don’t receive your answer.  Don't be aggressive with your language. Accusatory phrases such as “You didn’t do this” or “I’m still waiting,” never work, but open follow-ups like “Did you have the opportunity to take a look at this?” is a polite way to point out this email is important to get their input in order for you to move forward. Providing your next step if they don't reply should also be non-aggressive.  Simply stating that you will be moving forward on a specific date, with our without the recipient’s input is factual and should be void of emotional language or tones. As for your follow up emails, give a good 24-48 hours between the first and second depending on the urgency of eh email.  Other pointers include avoid vague words like "FYI" or "update" or including months of old email threads, avoid apologizing for following up and don't use the "just" phrase.  “Just following up” or “Just checking in,” only serves to diminish your request. Consider that email isn't the best way to communicate. Is there a better time of the day or week to reach them? Do they respond to emails after hours and on weekends, or completely unplug?  Perhaps picking up the phone or visiting the person will get your email the answer it needs.

SOURCE:  Moneyish

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