Even for tech-savvy millennials, emails can be tricky, especially in the workplace. Every once in while, when you send an email, you might not get a response. It could just be that the recipient hasn’t seen it yet, or perhaps started replying and then got distracted (this happens with texts all the time, no??).

But it could also be more than that. Here are a few things to consider when you don’t get a reply from your boss or colleague.

1. Wrong Recipient

This doesn’t refer to an instance in which you meant to email Tayo and ended up emailing Taiwo because they have similar email addresses (though that very well may be the case). Rather, this is when you email Taiwo about an issue that Tayo should be handling or is more suited to respond to.

Always make sure your email is going to the appropriate recipient. There’s no need to email the CFO of your company about something the Finance Manager can handle.

2. Unclear Content

Maybe you went into too much detail, maybe you didn’t go into enough detail. Either of these can lead the email being confusing for recipient and may lead to you not getting a response. With most emails, brevity is key. But every once in a while, you’ll need to send an email with lengthy project descriptions or detailed instructions.

Make sure to read over emails to ensure that they’re coherent. Proofreading may seem like a chore but with short emails, it won’t take you more than a minute. With longer ones, it’s important that there isn’t any miscommunication.

3. Poor Timing

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Sometimes a co-worker may not respond to your email because of the timing. Perhaps you sent them some information too late, or perhaps it’s a question that can be answered in a meeting later that week.

Either way, make sure to consider the timing of the email if you find yourself wondering why you haven’t gotten a response.

4. You were rude

Hear us out! You may have not intended to be disrespectful, but we all know how emails can be misconstrued. This depends largely on the recipient and his/her perspective, so to be safe, it’s best to use language that is either pleasant or at least neutral and innocuous.

If however, you intended to express displeasure or be combative, don’t be surprised when you don’t hear back, as some people would rather not engage in heated email exchanges.

5. A response isn’t required

Some emails just don’t need a response. If you send your boss some information she asked for, she may respond or she may not and will discuss it with you at a later time.

Other times, if you’re sending a thank you email or an email about something that is not pertinent, it’s possible you won’t hear back. In most cases, it’s nothing personal, so there’s no need to worry.

All in all, remember that proof-reading and clarity are very important when emailing at work, along with being polite. Emails rarely get lost, so if you don’t hear back, consider one of the five instances above. Then call to make sure the recipient has seen the email or send another email following up.

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