The Email Waiting Game

Instead of playing the dreaded email waiting game, staring longingly at your empty inbox until your recipient can get back to you, opt for a more direct approach. Here’s a simple email communication hack that prevents ambiguity and provides clarity.

Expectation Versus Reality

Have you ever sent an email and then stared at the screen waiting for the response?

Don’t be ashamed to admit it— we’ve all done it!  We expect the person to be right there and to respond right away. Alas, most often this is not the case.

Adam Grant, a noted psychologist out of the University of Pennsylvania, explains that this is egocentric bias at work. 

There is a huge disconnect when it comes to expectations between senders and recipients.

In short, most of us think we know what others are thinking better than we actually do.

Your Email Recipient Isn’t A Mind Reader

Here’s how it works. You write an email and in your head, you know exactly what the intention of the email is, but often your thoughts are not adequately transferred to text.

You still send the email though and wrongfully assume that the person on the other end knows what you want.

Herein lies the disconnect. Our egos get the best of us because we think people can read our minds.  We then get frustrated when they don’t respond to us in the timeframe that we have in our heads, but which we didn’t clearly articulate. 

The Simple Power Of Specificity

Which brings me to the simple hack that you can deploy in every mode of communication with every human you encounter: be specific with your request.

In the case of the email, give the person the expected timeline for a response.

It could be a quick sentence at the end. As Adam Grant explains it, say something like, “I need a response by Tuesday at noon”.

You can do this with both internal and external email communication.

Avoiding Ambiguity

The key is avoiding ambiguity and providing clarity with intentional email communication. You then make it really simple for the person to respond and it also reduces the cognitive stress that we all feel with inboxes that are overflowing.

The sender will be more productive because they’ll get the answers they need in the timeframe that they need them and the recipient will be more productive because they won’t need to think about replies as much.

Instead of staring at an empty inbox, your mind will be freed up for important tasks and the stress that comes with awaiting a response will reduce dramatically

In a virtual world, communication can often be unclear and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. For best practices that you can follow in your next video sales call to ensure that your message gets across to your prospect, download our FREE guide: The Video Sales Call Checklist.

About the author

Keith Lubner

Keith Lubner is Chief Strategy Officer at Sales Gravy and acts as an advisor,…

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