There are many ways to approach an email message and based on your responses you can either help the recipient and yourself or cause more trouble. We can say that email is one of the most used professional tools, with permission from the phone call. This means that throughout the day you will spend a lot of time. Valuable time that you can use for other, more productive tasks.
Hence the importance of how you write your messages, how you respond to the messages you receive, etc. And is that writing is not as simple as putting words together. You must know how to convey what you want, avoid confusion and make that message generate a useful action and not a problem for you or whoever receives your message.
Here is a selection of the best and worst responses you can give to emails that ask or ask you something. This way you will avoid falling into traps or frequent mistakes and you will get out of any message.
Positive and safe answers
The selection is by Dani Donovan, designer and illustrator specializing in content related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In his work, we also find posters or comics with varied content, such as the one that compiles the following answers.
First, when you are slow to respond, avoid apologizing for it. Better to turn it around. Instead of seeing it as something negative, hence the apologies, it is better to thank your interlocutor for their patience or time.
The positive language is better than negative in many respects. It can also be applied to when the other person is the one who apologizes or who apologizes for something. Instead of responding with a classic “no problem” or “don’t worry”, a “it’s a pleasure to help you” or a similar formula is better.
This can also apply to when you make a mistake. Instead of filling your response with apologies and forgiveness, better respond indicating that you have solved the problem or that you have corrected that error. For her example, Dani Donovan deals with a common situation: you send an email and forget to attach a file. Do not apologize for the forgetfulness, just send the file. It is also worth noting the observation of the error and responding that this error has been resolved.
When you need to arrange a meeting or appointment, it is better to offer a specific date that suits you rather than passing that task on to the other person. For two reasons, you avoid being proposed a date that does not suit you and, at the same time, you are doing your interlocutor a favour.
Regarding the language used and the previous point, Dani Donovan recommends responding with affirmative rather than doubtful sentences. That is, it is better to propose something than to suggest it. For your example, choose a formula like “would be our best …” rather than a lazy “I think we should …”.
No time to waste
Two important tips for answering emails. If you are dealing with an issue that is best-resolved face-to-face or via the voice call, avoid doing it via email. Email is not a chat to have a conversation with.
The second tip has to do with making sure that your message is clear and that, if it is not, you can answer any questions. Hence it is convenient to use phrases such as “let me know if you have any questions”, which prompts your interlocutor to ask you instead of an innocuous “I hope this makes sense” that leads nowhere.
Another trick that Dani Donovan proposes to answer emails is to ensure a prompt response. That is, if you are consulting about something, it is convenient to accompany your message with a phrase such as “when will I get an answer?” or “when will we know something new?”