Do you sometimes have trouble getting your coworkers to reply to your emails? Do you spend a lot of time writing the perfect message only to be met with no response?

If you experience this problem, you might be able to fix it by making a few minor adjustments to the way you write your emails. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Make sure you’re not asking the impossible – If you email one of your coworkers at 11:00 a.m. and ask her to review a 50-page document before lunch, you might be asking too much. She might already be busy with another project and not have the time. Or, even if she has the time, it might not be possible to review such a long document in a couple hours. So as a result, she might just ignore your email altogether. To avoid getting this type of passive-aggressive response, make sure that you’re reasonable in your requests.
  • Be sure to indicate that you want a response – If you send a coworker an email that says, “Here’s that report you asked for,” it’s not clear whether a response is needed. Your coworker might send back a quick “thank you,” or he might not respond at all. If you want some sort of feedback, make sure to tell the person what you need.
  • If you’re including a bunch of people on an email, make sure to explain why – I think the more people you include on an email, the less likely it is that you’ll get a response. Still, if you feel the need to include a bunch of people, make sure to tell them why they were included and what you’d like them to do. Get specific! (For instance, tell George that you want him to edit the document and tell Becky that you want her to add a graphic.)
  • Make sure to include a due date – Even if you are very clear about what you expect from a coworker, you still need to include a due date. Otherwise, your email will probably get pushed to the bottom of your coworker’s to-do list, and may be forgotten entirely.
  • Write clearly – If you’re in a rush, it’s sometimes hard to write in complete sentences. But try not to be too cryptic! If your email is confusing, your coworkers may not know how to respond or what you expect from them.


Maier, J. (n.d.). 5 reasons I almost responded to your email, but didn’t. The Muse. Retrieved from