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4 Tricks to Reduce the “Email Boomerang Effect"
One problem with email is that it often simply begets more email. On average, an outgoing email generates two responses.
This is called the ”Email Boomerang Effect”.
You send out an email with an open-ended question like:
“When do you want to get together?”
They respond with, “Monday.”
You: “Monday isn’t good for me. How does Tuesday sound?”
Them: “Sure. What time?”
Them: “2PM isn’t good. How about 5PM?”
And so on.
Most of those emails could have been avoided by simply substituting the initial open-ended question for one that elicits a yes/no response like, “Let’s get together this week. I’m available M,T,W between 12PM and 5PM. Do any of those dates/times work and if so which one?”
They respond with the date and time. End email thread.
Here are some other strategies you can use to write emails that don’t initiate the Email Boomerang Effect:
#1 Use CC with discretion
Every person you add to an email thread is just another reply waiting to happen.
Avoid needless emails by only including people who absolutely need to be in the thread.
#2 Try to include a non-response default action
When you write up an email with a question, set up the question so that there’s a default action that requires no response from your recipient.
When you’re planning an event, you can phrase your email like this: “I’m going to schedule the conference room for Tuesday at 3PM. If I don’t hear back from you by tomorrow, I’ll assume that’s fine.”
If the person doesn’t have a problem with it, you won’t get a response.
You just reduced the amount of email you received.
#3 Add “FYI” at the beginning of the subject line; end with NRN
Many emails you send are just for informational purposes and don’t require a response.
Let your recipient know that in the subject line by beginning with “FYI” and ending with “NRN” (no response needed).
Example: “FYI: Latest company report. NRN.”
#4 Don’t send emails
The simplest solution to the Email Boomerang Effect is to just not send email unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Also, email is not always the best medium of communication.
Know when it’s an email and when it’s a phone call, message, or face-to-face interaction.