One simple way to cut email volume in half

I could send half as many messages if the recipients would do one thing: read my email before they reply.

In a dash through their inbox, people respond to what they expected my message to say instead of what I actually wrote. As a result, I have to send another message directing their attention: “As I explained in my earlier message …”

I accept responsibility for writing a clear email to begin with. Based on the responses I receive, however, the problem isn’t what I write but what people don’t read.

In one email to a retailer’s customer service department, my subject line noted there were two issues. The service rep provided a poor answer to my question and totally ignored the second part of my email, in which I explained that the box I received also included another customer’s merchandise and shipping label. Apparently paying attention is a problem throughout that company.

How do you think we could all reduce the number of emails we send and receive?

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