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    The dying art of replying to emails

    The dying art of replying to emails

    No matter your job title or industry, you’re guaranteed to have been left hanging, waiting for an email that never came.

    We’re so used to hearing “I’ll get back to you,” that the phrase has lost all meaning. How often does someone tell us they’ll get back to us only for our inbox to remain completely empty?

    It’s happened to all of us, and that’s a problem. Everyone is busy these days, but there’s no excuse for not following through on your word on something as straightforward as sending an email.

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    Why is it so difficult?

    Ironically, it’s the big tasks that we’re more likely to keep our word on. A large project? Done. A substantial quote? Too easy. A 100-word email that takes two minutes to write? Too hard.

    There’s nothing actually difficult about following up with someone. The challenge is remembering to do it in the first place.

    When you’re given a mountain of work to get through, this is one of the first things to slip your mind.

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    Of course, it’s the little things that are easiest to forget. But we’re all adults and there’s no excuse for not being organised enough.

    These days, there are heaps of handy programs – virtual and real – to help us remember things.

    We can set reminders on computers, phones and watches to perform certain tasks. A corkboard next to your desk is a great place to stick a to-do list as well.

    All of these are preferable to setting purely mental notes. Unfortunately our brains aren’t quite as reliable as we’d like them to be.

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    Do as I say, not as I do

    Over the course of your career, you’re likely to have done these two things: 1) Become annoyed with someone who didn’t reply to you, and 2) failed to reply to someone.

    This isn’t a pointed criticism, rather a reflection that we’re all guilty of this seemingly innocuous indiscretion.

    It definitely isn’t the end of the world should an email go unanswered, but being a reliable worker means every facet of your professional identity must have those traits.

    It’s not just good courtesy to get back to people – it’s an overall reflection of your conduct and character.

    If we all take it upon ourselves to be as dependable as we expect others to be, there’ll be no more time wasted by waiting for a reply that will never arrive.

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