Four Reasons People Ignore Your Emails

Mandi Stanley's picture
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You are being ignored. No one likes being ignored, but people are deleting your emails without even reading them. You’re writing these updates and memos and you’re attaching minutes and agendas for meetings, yet when everyone shows up, it’s quickly evident that no one read the information.  They received it, but they didn’t read it. That’s a problem---and a huge waste of time.

So, if you want your coworkers to continue to cast aside your emails without so much as a second glance, stick with these commonplace e-writing slights:

1) You cram as much information as possible into one sentence.

Amanda from the County Inspection bureau says every now & then she gets a call from a rep that she was calling to give a verbal that a release is received, she says she asked the rep if she could FAX the information to her and she was told that her supervisor told her to make the call only & she could not fax this, she says the rep did tell her she was from the Midwest, she said that the confirmation that we send to them they keep for a year because the builders get irate when they call and we tell them we don’t have the release, and also she said most of the time the builder has given us the wrong address on new construction homes….”

Yes, that really is one sentence.

2) Speaking of run-ons, you are sure to sprinkle plenty of dot-dot-dots throughout your message.

               …I will be leaving for Milwaukee……I won’t be in the office tomorrow….if I miss you
               today….maybe we can talk next week….

We would never write this way in a formal letter printed on company stationery.  Why do we go “dot happy” in emails?  Remember: Ellipses don’t mean “and so on and so on and so on” and they don’t mean you’re just letting your thoughts trail off into the wild blue yonder. Restrict your use of ellipses to indicate omitted sections from lengthy quotations.

3) You leave the subject line blank.

Subject lines are necessary—and they need to be descriptive ones.  Gone are the days of simply filling in the subject line with a vague “hey” or “hey, girls” or whaazzup?!

And never leave it empty. 

Blank subject lines can be analogized to newspapers with no headlines over the articles. Imagine grabbing the morning sports section to figure out who won the big game, but where the headline is supposed to be is blank space.  We count on headlines to guide us through the newspaper and let us know what’s important. Our email readers depend upon our subject lines to do the same.

4) You TYPE IN ALL CAPS.  That really gets your reader’s attention.

Of course, our readers love it when we scream at them.  And we all know how easy it is to read lines of text off of our computer screens that look like this:

               ATTACHED IS THE MANAGEMENT PLAN CALENDAR. WOULD YOU PLEASE HAVE YOUR PEOPLE
               LOOK AT IT AN MAKE ANY ADDITIONS OR CORRECTIONS? IF THEY WOULD MAKE THE
               CORRECTIONS/ADDITIONS IN RED, IT WOULD BE VERY HELPFUL. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!

Think about it: How many emails do you receive in your inbox every day?  Some attract, and many repel.  By continuing to write emails using the four repelling practices above, you are practically guaranteed to deter even the most severe of email skimmers.

Every email is a self-portrait of the sender; autograph yours with excellence!
 


Believing that the quality of your writing directly reflects the quality of your work, Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with administrative professionals who want to boost their professional image and become better speakers and writers. You can learn more from Mandi at EFAM 2014. She’ll be presenting “Communicating in Business” on Sunday, July 27 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., and Monday, July 28 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Plus, she brings chocolate for everyone! Engage with Mandi on Twitter @MandiStanleyCSP and at her web site www.MandiStanley.com.

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