Why are your emails not being answered?


You are look­ing for a job, you send out emails to employ­ers, but no one answers them. Or you send a let­ter to a col­league, and for some rea­son he delays answer­ing. Is this sit­u­a­tion famil­iar?

Researchers from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Water­loo decid­ed to approach the issue from a sci­en­tif­ic point of view. They decom­posed the prob­lem into com­po­nents and iden­ti­fied five main fac­tors that influ­ence a person’s deci­sion to respond to a let­ter:

  • the time or effort required to process email;
  • sender’s iden­ti­ty;
  • the num­ber of recip­i­ents spec­i­fied in the let­ter;
  • user work­load;
  • the impor­tance of a par­tic­u­lar email.

Sur­pris­ing­ly, in the first place, peo­ple eval­u­ate not the impor­tance of the let­ter, but the impor­tance of the per­son of the sender. If the email is sent by some­one impor­tant in their pro­fes­sion­al and per­son­al lives, a reply will be sent imme­di­ate­ly.

The time it takes to process a let­ter is also an impor­tant fac­tor. If the let­ter con­tains attach­ments, a lot of text and links, then it is more like­ly to be post­poned until lat­er. There­fore, if you want to receive answers, try to write con­cise­ly and do not send any­thing extra.

Anoth­er unex­pect­ed dis­cov­ery is that peo­ple are more like­ly to ignore let­ters from senders who are close to them in sta­tus and views. This is due to the fact that peo­ple in their own cir­cle are less inter­est­ing to the recip­i­ent. That is, a sub­or­di­nate or boss is more like­ly to answer you than an equal col­league.

The chance of receiv­ing a response is strong­ly influ­enced by the num­ber of recip­i­ents of the let­ter. The more peo­ple you send the text, the less chance of a response. Accord­ing to sci­en­tists, when a per­son sees sev­er­al names in the recip­i­ent col­umn, he los­es the moti­va­tion to answer. He believes that some­one else will give the answer. The prob­lem is that every­one thinks so. In the toga, the let­ter remains unan­swered. Con­clu­sion: if you want to receive answers, send per­son­al­ized emails. It’s a lit­tle longer, but much more effec­tive.

The sci­en­tists plan to con­tin­ue the study. Now they intend to find out what fac­tors affect the chance that a user will return to a delayed email after some time.







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