Emailing, texting, and all other non-verbal means of communicating have become very commonplace in the workplace. Typing a response to a colleague's or client’s message is convenient and can even be more time effective than trying to catch them by phone. However, before you press “send” on your next message, ask yourself this: “Did I answer ALL of the questions I was sent?”
With work emails, it is very easy for us to provide selective responses by only giving answers to certain questions, while overlooking others. You may do this accidentally when we hone in on one specific query, or purposely when you are unable to give a direct answer. However, when it come to effective communications, you must always take the sender into consideration. If a question was asked then there must be a specific need for your answer.
In order to avoid this common email faux pa, follow these simple steps:
1. Always re-read the sender’s email
This is especially true if there is a long list of similarly related follow-up questions. Going back and re-reading their email will remind you of what was actually asked. It is easy to forget a detail or two when you begin typing.
2. Re-read your response.
Does it make sense? Is it inclusive of everything I was asked? Will no follow-up questions be needed to conclude this topic? The goal should always be to provide as much detail needed to sufficiently close the email thread, preventing any unnecessary back-and forth.
3. Implement a formatting method
Go back though the sender’s email, draw out each individual question, and apply a number or letter to it in your response. By doing this, you make it easier on yourself to go back and check your answers against the sender's corresponding question.
By applying these simple methods to your email messages, you can reduce unnecessary back-and forth from the sender re-sending their original question and increase communication satisfaction between co-workers and clients.