Why employees don’t read your e-mails&#8212and what to do about it

How to make sure your staff doesn’t glaze over e-mail requests.

How to make sure your staff doesn’t glaze over e-mail requests

Whose fault is it when someone doesn’t read your e-mail and makes a mistake because of it? This happened to me with a boss who didn’t bother reading past the second paragraph to the next sentence in red bold type which explained the need for action based on the explanation in the introduction. Damn that logical order mind of mine.

I got credit for the bold red font but lost points because it was in the middle of the page. As a result, she completely blamed me for her not being informed. Huh?

This inspired me to always use the tried and true ways to ensure (ensure is such a strong and sometimes lonely word) people read my e-mails and get the message quickly.

The first trick is to get them to open it. Most communicators have that problem. One company I worked for used a mail delivery system that put a sunburst next to mass distribution e-mails from the Communications Department (which I usually wrote). One day I asked a friend about the topic of the latest e-mail (he wasn’t aware I was the author) and he told me he didn’t read it. I asked him why. He said, “Oh, I always delete those sunburst e-mails.” Terrific, thanks for justifying my job.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.