Want a response to your email request? Make your question easy to answer.


You open your email and you are faced with a bunch of questions that want answering. Some of these are easy ones: yes/no, no-brainers, and you can quickly get them off the list. “OK done.”  But some of them are harder requiring deeper consideration: “I’ll get back to that one later.” Also if it’s contentious, it can be easier to wait for someone else to put their stake in the ground. Sometimes a lot of time can go by.

So when you are the one posing the question or asking for a response, it is a good practice to make your request as simple as possible and to suggest an easy way for busy and distracted people to respond intelligently, coherently. Make a greater effort to simplify what you ask of others – it will pay dividends.

Yes, this piece should probably be headed memo to self. But do think on it as you involve others in decisions or projects or if you want to meet them or to read your pitch, if it is too hard to deal with right this minute, the chances are it will disappear off their screen and it could well get forgotten altogether.