Get Your Emails Answered Fast With This Simple Tactic

Image Credit: @criene/Twenty20

The best way to be successful is to set yourself up for success. That's the underlying principle behind so much advice about productivity and leadership. The simpler the task, however, the less we can be likely to take that into account. But it doesn't have to be that way.

This week, The Cut editor Catie L'Heureux shared a tried and true method for getting your boss to respond to your emails. There's no secret sauce or One Neat Trick; instead, signal to the email's recipient that your email isn't going to stress them out. The quickest way to do that is to ask for what you need in the simplest possible format, right at the top of the message.

"Words like 'Do you think…' or 'Could we…' or 'Will you confirm…' are quick shorthand phrases that tell [your boss] THIS IS AN EASY EMAIL," L'Hereux writes. "All she has to do is reply yes or no." Placing these phrases at the front of your email will make them show up in an inbox preview, whether on mobile or desktop. This does mean you'll want to whittle your ask down to the essentials before you compose, but a little work up front will save everyone time, effort, and mental energy.

You've got further options for packaging your emails for maximum effectiveness, like using short, snappy subject lines. That said, research published last year showed that in-person conversations can be more effective at persuasion, assuming the other party has the bandwidth for it. Email has its place; knowing when to lean on it and how can ultimately help everyone around you use it less.