By Aye Moah
Email is the most popular method for business communication. Sure, we’ve seen messaging platforms like Slack and Skype rise in popularity, and employees are always quick to pull out their phones and send a text, but when it comes to business interactions, email has remained king. On average, the everyday email user receives 147 messages per day and spends about two and a half hours reading, responding and working through those notes. Typically, 12 of those messages require substantial work, which takes up to 90 minutes of the workday alone. Because of email’s prominence, we decided to conduct research into how users work through the tool, what aspects take up the most time, and what are the best practices for generating the most responses.
Considering how much time we spend on email, it’s important that we optimize the strategy and develop an efficient process that yields results, i.e. responses. When using email, most time is spent making decisions, doing work and crafting responses, so you’ll want to recognize how long each action takes and address the aspects that count the most. On average, writing an email clocks in at 72.3 seconds, or just over one minute – time that quickly adds up considering we send about 40 messages a day. Deleting an email takes almost no time, at 3.2 seconds, while processing whether or not we want to archive it takes a bit longer, at 7.3 seconds. Email users that employ third party services to defer emails decide that they’d rather answer the note at a later date in about 10 seconds. When they do get to those once deferred emails, it typically only takes 64 seconds to craft a response – 10 seconds less than emails that are answered right away.
Knowing how much time it takes to work through email is important for overall day-to-day productivity, but you’ll also want to make sure you’re putting effort into getting an actual response to your message as well. To draft better emails, and get the responses you’re looking for, considering the following data-driven tips:
- Write like a 3rd Grader: Reading grade level has a surprisingly dramatic impact on email response rates. Our research shows that emails written at a third grade reading level have a shocking 36% higher response rate over emails written at a college reading level and a 17% higher response rate than emails written at a high school reading level. Context, of course, matters, but when appropriate, try using shorter words and sentences because syllables per word and number of words per sentence generally make up your reading grade level score. By keeping it short, you’ll also prevent the TLDR response that no one ever wants to see.
- Write with emotion: You may be thinking that positive emails generate more responses than negative ones, but actually, it’s neutral email that you want to avoid. Emails that are slightly to moderately positive OR slightly to moderately negative got 10-15% more responses than emails that were completely neutral, so don’t be afraid …read more
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