Leadership

5 reasons it's a good idea to instantly respond to emails

AFP Contributor / Contributor

When it comes to email correspondence, there seems to be two types of people: those who acknowledge that they received an email and those who don't.

We are firmly in the first camp. When we receive an email, we quickly respond by letting the sender know that we got their note: "OK," "Got it," "On it," "Great," "Noted," or "Thanks."

Of course, you should use your judgement regarding which emails don't require a response like group notes, SPAM, or correspondence that no longer needs a reply.

Here are five reasons why you should send quick email acknowledgements:

1. It's courteous

There's nothing more irritating or infuriating than someone who doesn't reply to your emails. When someone takes a long time to write you back, you might start to think they are discourteous and disrespectful of your time. Indeed, they may be busy, but if they only saw you as more valuable or worth their time, they would at least acknowledge your email.

By sending a quick acknowledgement email, you are being polite, well-mannered, and respectful. You're extending the sender an olive branch by answering their note.

2. You will be seen as reliable

When you send email acknowledgments to those who contact you, you are also letting them know that you are responsive, prompt, and even trustworthy. Those who send you messages will know you're a reliable person. You are giving the impression that you mean business and appreciate speed in your correspondence.

3. It forces you to act

Instead of waiting around and contemplating someone's note, you can get the ball rolling by acknowledging their email. This will make you look proactive and like you're taking action — even if it's just a one- or two-word email.

Don't wait around for your inbox to overflow. As soon as you get something that requires a response, shoot the sender a quick note. When you respond to someone, it creates a sense of personal accountability and shows that you're going to take care of whatever you said that you would.

4. It buys you time

Your email acknowledgements don't need to be long. You can simply say "OK" or "Understood." By using these staccato statements, you are buying yourself time for contemplation and deliberation. Instead of someone waiting for your long reply, they will relax and cut you some slack that whatever they are requesting will get done.

In some cases, your short acknowledgement email may be the only reply you'll need to send. In other words, there may not be any need for an eventual long response. And besides, if someone really needs something, they'll follow up with you again.

5. It helps you achieve inbox zero

When you reply quickly, you can move onto the next message. If you're moving with a brisk tempo, you may be able to achieve "inbox zero" — that magical moment when your email inbox has zero messages that need a response. For those of you who are compulsive about communication, there is no greater accomplishment when it comes to email productivity.

Commentary by Deepak Chopra and Kabir Sehgal. Chopra is the author of The Healing Self with Rudolph E. Tanzi, the founder of The Chopra Foundation, co-founder of Jiyo and The Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Sehgal is a New York Times bestselling author. He is a former vice president at JPMorgan Chase, multi-Grammy Award winner and U.S. Navy veteran. Chopra and Sehgal are co-creators of Home: Where Everyone Is Welcome, inspired by American immigrants.

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