Sunday, May 4, 2014

Netiquette Core Rules - Replies - From Netiquette IQ

It is often uncomfortable to wait for a reply from an email you sent and whether you should try sending it again. I have often stated that if you want a reply this should be asked for in your message.

On this reverse side, it is usually best to acknowledge an email. The subjects mentioned above require more detail based upon many specifics, but the article below states some of the basics rather nicely.

Email Etiquette: Should You Reply to My Email?
05/02/2014 Huffington Post

I've sent you an email and am experiencing dreaded email no reply -- should you reply to my email? Panic is setting in. What should I do? I'm likely experiencing some of these 8 panic points:
1.    Did you see my email?
2.    Am I low priority and you'll respond 'later'? If so... when is 'later'??
3.    Did your server block my message?
4.    Did my server block your response?
5.    Perhaps you are working on a response -- so I should wait?
6.    Do you need more time?
7.    Did I upset you -- was my request inappropriate or was my email tone harsh?
8.    Perhaps you did see my email and don't care.
What's The Email Etiquette? Should You Reply To My Email?

This email etiquette question boils down to 'Are people supposed to respond to every email, even if it's only to say yes, no or thank you?'
The most common reasons I hear of why people say we should not reply to some email is:
·         They are being efficient -- saving time.
·         They are saving space on the companies server and back-up systems.
I understand both of those points. Sure -- they might save 5 seconds by not responding, but I think the cost of me assuming any of the above listed 8 panic points is way more costly to our business and our relationship.

The Risk Of Not Replying To Email
All you have to do is lose one piece of business, miss one deadline -- or show up to one meeting that the other person doesn't come to to easily waste 30 minutes or more in preparation and travel time to experience the benefit of replying first-hand.
A quick reply, saying 'I'll have an answer for you tomorrow', 'Yes' and/or 'Thank you' is polite and a simple, time efficient way to be build relationships AND be motivating.
And, for all the 8 panic points listed above, if I don't get a reply to my email I really don't know it was received (read receipts don't work because they can be cancelled by the reader).
Example: A Situation To Consider
You receive an email from your very busy boss asking for some important information. She has outlined her needs and has asked for the information by 6PM Wednesday... the night before her meeting.
On Wednesday you have to leave by 3PM... it's a lot to get done, but at 1PM on Wednesday you email your boss what she requested.
Now it's 2:15PM and you have not had a confirmation from your boss that:
·         She received your email / information
·         The information is what she needs
·         Panic!! For many of the 8 reasons listed above you begin to worry because your professional reputation is on the line if she's not happy.
Your reputation is on the line.
Example Continued: Your Reputation Is On The Line
You want to make sure your boss is supported, so from 2:15 to 2:45 you meet with your assistant and your bosses assistant and show them where all your back-up files are and the key elements that you addressed when putting together your bosses request. This way:
·         If your boss didn't get your work you have peace of mind to know that they have access to it.
·         If your boss needs to make any adjustments you've done the best you can to bring them all up to speed.
What Did Happen was... your boss saw your email and you did a great job... but you don't know this.

The Problem...
By not taking 5 seconds to email you back "Thank you, this meets my needs perfectly." your boss has lost a perfect and easy opportunity to show you that you are important to her and the company. Instead, you have now:
·         Stressed out yourself, your assistant and her assistant
·         Kept yourself from doing some Important Work for at least the last 30 minutes
·         Kept your assistant and her assistant from doing their Important Work for the last 30 minutes
So, what do you think? Should we send a response to all email?
I believe silence to email provides too many opportunities for errors, disappointments and expensive assumptions to be made.
Certainly -- if someone send you a "Thank you" it's 99 percent likely that you don't need to send a "You're welcome" message. That is wasting time. Otherwise, if you are wondering "Should You Reply To My Email?' Yes, I recommend erring on the side of safety... even (or especially) if it's only to be polite, give me a pat on the back and say "Thank you."
Happy communicating and creating workplace harmony. Thank you!
 In addition to this blog, I have authored the premiere book on Netiquette, " Netiquette IQ - A Comprehensive Guide to Improve, Enhance and Add Power to Your Email". You can view my profile, reviews of the book and content excerpts at:
 If you would like to listen to experts in all aspects of Netiquette and communication, try my radio show on BlogtalkRadio  and an online newsletter via have established Netiquette discussion groups with Linkedin and  Yahoo I am also a member of the International Business Etiquette and Protocol Group and Minding Manners among others. I regularly consult for the Gerson Lehrman Group, a worldwide network of subject matter experts and I have been contributing to the blogs Everything Email and emailmonday . My work has appeared in numerous publications and I have presented to groups such as The Breakfast Club of NJ Rider University and  PSG of Mercer County, NJ.

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