How to Cut Down on Back and Forth Email Replies in Your Inbox

September 20th, 2016

Email is an incredible tool that allows you to communicate with anyone who has an email address — nearly 2.6 billion as of 2015, according to The Radicati Group, Inc. — at any time of day, anywhere in the world. Of course, if you’re constantly met with an overflowing inbox, you’re well aware it’s very possible to experience email overload.

When used properly, email can be a quick and efficient way to communicate, but if you spend an inordinate amount of time replying to seemingly never-ending back and forth messages, it’s time to make a change. Emailing shouldn’t take up a large portion of your day, so if it does, use these four tips to get it under control.

Get to the Point

Your messages might be sparring so many back and forth replies because they’re vague and confusing. Instead of assuming the other person understands what you’re trying to say, state your point directly. You still might receive a few questions or comments, but it won’t be an ongoing barrage that takes half your day to respond to.

Don’t Invite Unnecessary Feedback

Sometimes it’s great to ask for the opinions of others, but not always. When sending emails of an informative nature, stop asking recipients if the message makes sense or if they have any questions. Instead, make a few simple changes to the wording, letting people know you’re available if any questions arise, but they don’t need to respond otherwise. This may not seem like a huge difference, but it is, because you’re not actively soliciting feedback.

Have a Face-to-Face Conversation

Messages often get lost in translation when sent through email, so if you have a complex message to deliver, do it in person — when possible. Often times, you’re probably sending emails to people who sit down the hall from you, so get up and walk to their desk for a two-minute conversation, instead of wasting an hour emailing the person throughout the course of the day.

Pick Up the Phone

If the recipient of your somewhat confusing, rather intricate email doesn’t work at your office, simply give them a call to quickly discuss the contents of the message. A conversation will only take a few minutes, allowing both of you to get on the same page quickly, so you don’t have to spend all day typing in circles over email.

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