How many email do you get in a week?   I probably average around 400.  My goal at the end of the week is to get it down to 50-60 in my inbox – the ones that I have to do something about or respond, and I do try to respond in a timely fashion.

But I have noticed lately that this doesn’t seem to be the norm with other people. Granted in the summer people are away but there appears to be a tardiness in replying, if at all.

When you are waiting for their response, it’s frustrating because you become stuck on your project, waiting for their reply.   So I start to ask myself why?  Why do people not reply or procrastinate in getting back to you?   Here’s some of my conclusions.

Email too long and complex. I remember working with someone who sent long, long emails, with each question requiring a decision or response.   That can be overwhelming and it took me much longer to reply.   The answer then?  Keep the emails short and the requests minimum.

Reusing the same subject line. Another problem is when an old subject line is used for ongoing emails.   This can be confusing.  Far better to use a fresh subject when the content of the email is about something else.

And perhaps it’s about getting creative on the subject line, compelling the person to open it.

Frequency of emails. One issue may be that you are sending too many emails and the recipient may be feeling inundated. Check how many you send out.

No sense of urgency. While what you are sending out may be a priority for you, it may not be for the person on the receiving end. You may have to create a sense of urgency or issue a deadline so their decision to respond moves up their priority list.

Recipient overwhelmed. We really don’t know what is happening in the lives of others.  Perhaps they are just overwhelmed with all that is going on right now, and your email is the last thing they need.

If email isn’t working, pick up the phone. These days we communicate with each other in so many ways – email, LinkedIn message, Facebook messenger or text.  It is hard to know which mechanism people prefer or check on a regular basis.  But here’s a thought, we could pick up the phone and call.

Bottom line, we are all busy and responding to email can become just another chore to be done.

So if you get a call from me, you’ll know I am moving forward with plan B in trying to reach you.

Anne Day

Anne Day

Company of Women

I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.