I’m not sure I really mean what’s the point but why do some people bother having an email address since they never seem to actually use it!
A few weeks ago I read a lot of chat about how you should address someone in an email. Particularly, if they were not a personal acquaintance, you were unsure of their gender or title. My issue is why some people do not reply to emails?
Hands up. I plead guilty to leaving emails unanswered in my inbox for weeks, OK months, I’m sure it never got as bad as years, but after this blog post I intend to turn over a new leaf, electronically speaking.
We all get emails, sometimes hundreds of them and some people do seem to relish boasting about the size of their inbox. They probably have a big car and a 50” inch TV as well and probably an inefficient spam filter. The psychologists among you can draw your own conclusions.
The issue is not getting an email but what do we do with it once you get it.
Let me explain.
I sent an email to someone I had met. We had a conversation about what I do and about what they do. We exchanged email addresses. A third party, who did the face to face introduction, also initiated an online connection via email and encouraged us to get together for business. So my email was not exactly spam or out of the blue. Three emails – no reply. Not even, thanks but no thanks.
The person in question no doubt has their own reasons for not replying and I am not about to speculate as to why. It did, however, get me thinking about my own responses and actions to email. I admit I do not have the bulging inbox some of you seem to have, not sure if this makes me a lesser person or not, and thus my thoughts on how to deal with email may fall on deaf ears or tired fingers.
Let me categorise my inbox and the actions I intend to take.
SPAM – ignore and delete
Newsletters – tempted to say ignore and delete but maybe read and certainly, unless something catches my eye, no response is needed. I have set up an email address that I use solely for signing up to newsletters. I know that unopened emails in that box are not urgent.
Clients, friends etc – read, reply as soon as possible. I will often try to send a quick reply to acknowledge I have received it even if I am not able to deal with the content specifically at that time.
Prospective clients – holding email at first if busy then reply asap.
People looking for work – I regularly get CV’s etc. At the very least I reply and thank them even though it is unlikely I have anything for them. Most reply thanking me for even acknowledging their email. It can be a pain to get these emails but imagine how devastating it must feel to be ignored. I also sometimes reply with a little advice about researching the companies you email looking for work.
Sales emails – I don’t mind receiving these and occasionally I have found and bought a product because of them. A quick read and then delete. Cleary these emails are not expecting you to email them back.
So there it is, my plan for dealing with my inbox and keeping the lines of communication open. It is unlikely to force people to reply to my emails but at least I feel as though I am doing my bit. If you are in business you are likely to be busy but remember so is the person contacting you. The excuse “I am just too busy to reply” implies you consider your “busy-ness” as somehow superior to theirs. If you are so busy that you cannot reply or communicate with people you need to find a better business model.
If you ever come across a person who says I only check my email once a week or I never really use email then probably best to walk away before you do them physical harm.