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How to politely chase an email

How to politely chase emails

Techniques To Chase An Email

Email has arguably taken over from face to face meetings and phone calls in the world of business. It is convenient in lots of ways but ultimately can be a source of frustration when one half of that communication loop is broken by a lack of response. So how do you go about nudging someone without sounding like a broken record or, worse, downright rude? 

This guide is going to shed some light on the art of politely chasing up those elusive emails. You need to know whether your email has even been read and simply marked as “spam” or simply deleted. There are ways you can check whether your email was read or not, but let’s start with 15 tips to ensure that your email is actually noticed by your intended recipient in the first place.

It’s time to turn those unseen messages into conversations and get things moving forward!

1. Making Your Subject Line Shine

In the email world, the subject line is your headline, your first impression, and your foot in the door. It’s a bit like the shop window for a retail store. 

You want to capture attention but also ensure it accurately represents what’s inside. So, ditch those overused lines like “Quick Follow-up”. Instead, opt for more detailed, yet concise subjects such as: “Checking in on Project X Status” or “Awaiting Your Feedback on the Proposal”. 

Remember to keep it friendly, a smile through words can go a long way.

2. Crafting the Body of Your Message

Ok, now onto the meat and potatoes – the actual email content. Start off friendly – a ‘Hi [Name]’ always sets a warm tone. Dive into the crux of the matter without dilly-dallying too much. Be direct but not bossy and always, always end with gratitude. “Thanks in advance”, “thanks”, “Looking forward to your reply” or “Appreciate your time on this” etc, are all nice ways to round things off. Before hitting send, have a quick glance for any silly typos or missed words – they happen to the best of us.

3. Timing is Everything

Imagine sending a reminder email within hours of the initial message. That’s a no-no. A good rule of thumb is to wait a handful of days, maybe 3 or 4, before gently nudging. But if your inbox remains silent, don’t go into panic mode by shooting emails every day. This isn’t a tennis match, after all. There could be any number of reasons for the lack of response and you really needn’t jump to worst case scenario in your head.

4. Make It Personal

Let’s be real, no one likes those generic, cold emails. Add a touch of personal flair. Maybe mention a recent shared experience or perhaps a shared connection. A sprinkle of personalisation can transform your message from mundane to memorable. People are more likely to open a personalised email, how do you know this person? Let them know as soon as possible.

5. Let Tech Help You Out

In the age of smart tech, why not use automated reminder services? They can help schedule follow-ups, so you don’t have to. But, word of caution: always ensure these reminders don’t sound robotic. Add your touch to make sure they feel genuine. 

Gmail in particular has a number of great tools / addons that will allow you to use follow ups, read receipts, automated replies and more. 

Of course, this isn’t the only email platform out there but I bet whatever you’re using it will have some extended functionality to help you become more efficient. 

6. The Power of Being Clear and Concise

In today’s fast-paced digital world, nobody’s got the time for a long-winded email. When chasing up, ensure your message is crystal clear. 

Make use of bullet points or numbered lists if you need to highlight multiple points. This isn’t just about saving the recipient’s time, it’s about increasing the odds they’ll actually absorb your message and act upon it.

A wall of text or waffle is the last thing busy people want when they just want the facts, pure and simple. 

7. The Art of Email Chasing: Be Mindful of the Human on the Receiving End

So, you’ve sent out an email and you’re eager for a reply. 

The person you’re nudging might be having a day from hell or even facing some personal hardships. 

Why not infuse a little empathy into your messages? Starting with a sentence like, “I hope you’re doing well” could lighten up the mood and show that you’ve got a heart, not just an agenda. 

After all, we’re all human and nobody’s perfect.

8. Think About How You Wrap Things Up

Signing off an email is akin to the last sentence of a thrilling novel, it’s got to leave a mark. So, ditch the monotonous ‘Regards’ and consider a more thoughtful closer, like ‘Looking forward to hearing from you soon’ or ‘Wish you an amazing day ahead.’ It’s the cherry on top of the cake!

9. The Question of Frequency

Timing’s crucial but frequency is a big deal too. Shot off a few reminders and still haven’t heard back?

Maybe it’s time to switch gears. 

How about a good old-fashioned phone call? 

Sometimes the problem isn’t about the inbox, but about information overload, and a call can resolve things much quicker.

10. Keep Tabs on Who You’re Contacting

Let’s be real, life can get chaotic. Why not use tools or even a simple list to keep track of who you’ve nudged and when. We’ve already touched on this point above regarding using tech to help, but a simple spreadsheet or CMS here can suffice. 

This way, you won’t find yourself in the awkward spot of over-following-up. Trust me, your professional vibe will thank you.

11. Reflect and Revise Your Initial Approach

If you’re firing off reminders like confetti and not getting any RSVPs, maybe it’s time to reassess. 

Go back and scrutinise your original email. 

Was your message clear? Did it actually tell people what you want them to do? 

Sometimes the root of all your follow-up woes lies right there in the first message. Fix that, and you might reduce the need to pester people in the future.

12. Jazz Up Your Emails with Visuals

Text is great, but why not break the sea of words with some interesting visuals? Think infographics, charts, or even a tasteful GIF. Just remember, it should supplement your message, not distract from it.

13. Build Relationships, Not Just Threads

Communication is not a one-way street. Why not share some interesting tidbits or just say hello, if you know the person why not ask how they are or how their latest holiday or round of gold was? A bit of casual chatter could make your future emails a welcome sight rather than a chore.

14. Loop in Feedback for Better Communication

If someone’s kind enough to shoot back with some feedback or even a reason for their tardiness, don’t ignore it. Acknowledge it, and you’re setting up a healthy feedback loop. It’s not just about you, but about keeping the convo beneficial for both parties.

15. Value the Power of a Strong Subject Line

Think of the subject line as the headline of a news article or the title of a movie; it’s got to grab attention. A generic subject like “Follow-up” is about as appealing as a stale biscuit

Instead, opt for something that piques curiosity but also gives a hint of what’s inside, like “Updates on Project X: Your Thoughts Needed.” This simple change can make all the difference, elevating your email from the depths of an overcrowded inbox to the top of the must-read list.

How to politely chase emails 2

Now that we’ve discussed how you can politely chase your emails, you inevitably will have a follow up or rejection. How do you deal with this? Like this…

The “Not Yet” and “No” Scenarios: How to Respond When You Get a Rejection or a Request for More Time

Rejection stings, doesn’t it? But here’s the kicker: a “no” or a “not yet” isn’t the end of the world, it’s just another phase of the conversation. 

If you get a “no”, it’s tempting to retreat, but consider asking for feedback instead. Understand what led to that “no”, so you can improve your approach next time. 

In case of a “not yet”, try to find out when would be a more convenient time to discuss your proposal. Is the other person swamped at the moment? Would they prefer to circle back in a week or two? Knowing these details can inform your follow-up strategy.

For example, if someone says, “Not now, I’m snowed under with work,” you might reply, “No worries at all, I understand how busy you are. Would it be alright if I touched base with you in a couple of weeks?”

Understanding Recipient Preferences

Not everyone likes email. Some people prefer phone calls, video chats, or even good old face-to-face conversations. 

Pay attention to cues in your interaction with the other person. If they always seem more responsive or engaged in a particular setting, that could be your best route for effective communication. 

It’s like cooking a meal for a friend: you wouldn’t make a cheese-laden lasagne for someone who’s lactose intolerant, right? So why stick to email if your recipient clearly favours another communication mode?

Read Receipts and Open Tracking – Advantages and Disadvantages

The use of read receipts and email tracking services can provide insights, into how the other person interacts with your emails. Did they open your email? Have they clicked on any links?

While this information can be helpful for understanding engagement it also raises concerns about privacy. Some individuals may perceive it as invasive akin to someone peeking through their window.

On the side these tools can sometimes fuel paranoia. If you notice that someone has opened your email but hasn’t responded you might jump to conclusions that’re rarely beneficial for anyone involved.

Global Considerations

The world is a place, home to many cultures and communication styles. When dealing with an audience adopting a one size fits all approach simply won’t suffice.

For example, while Americans might appreciate concise emails the Japanese may find correspondence a bit abrupt or even impolite. Similarly, while “Looking forward to hearing from you” may be a sign off in the UK it might not carry the meaning in other cultures.

Conduct research and when uncertain opt, for a neutral tone that is universally accepted.

Legal Implications

Navigating the landscape can feel like a jungle especially with data protection laws, like GDPR in play. GDPR mandates obtaining consent before sending marketing emails so repeatedly reaching out without permission could lead to trouble. 

Always provide an option for people to opt out of your emails. Avoid persistently contacting individuals who have made it evident they are not interested. Keep in mind that what you may consider a friendly reminder could be seen as even illegal spam by others.


Q: What about using emojis in emails?

A: Emojis can add a touch of informality but its wise to consider their appropriateness. While they may be suitable for communication, amongst family and friends they might not be well received in formal conversations.

Q: Is it advisable to resend an email?

A: If you suspect that your message may have gone astray in the realm or if your recipient claims non receipt yes go ahead and resend it. However ensure that you clearly communicate your intention so as not to come across bothersome.

Q: How long should I wait before sending a follow up?

A: As a guideline waiting 3 4 days is recommended. Nevertheless remember that exercising patience is always valuable.

Q: How can I avoid coming across as pushy?

A: It’s all, about the way you phrase it. Keep it light express gratitude and steer clear of sounding authoritative.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for keeping track of my pending emails?

A: Absolutely! Utilise the folder system in your email. Consider using email tracking software.

In Summary

Managing emails is somewhat akin, to maneuvering on a dance floor. You need to know the steps and maintain a rhythm. It’s crucial to strike a balance – being courteous, persistent and adding a touch. So next time you hesitate before hitting that ‘Send’ button keep these tips in mind and take the plunge. Wishing everyone emailing!


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