We’ve all been there: You get what feels like zillions of emails a day, but only have the time and mental capacity to respond to so many of them. Ok, maybe not even half.
Here’s what to do when responding to someone’s email after it’s been a while.
Think about whether to apologize or not — then say this
Daniel Potter writes about this in a Grammarly blog post.
“If you work in a fast-breaking, deadline-driven profession, you routinely email people back instantly. But that’s not always a realistic expectation, particularly when what’s at stake is the opposite of urgent. Being human doesn’t always necessitate an apology.
“Say you get an email along the lines of ‘Hey friendly contact, could we meet up for coffee next week and free-associate about our industry?’ While connections like this can be valuable, they probably won’t wither if you take a couple decadently unhurried days to respond.
“In such cases, charitably assume these people get it. Skip past ‘sorry for the late reply” and cut straight to what matters: ‘Sounds good, and thanks for reaching out — How’s Thursday?’ ”
Think about how time-sensitive the email is
“If the request is fairly evergreen (e.g., someone asked you if you’d ever like to meet for coffee), you can write back apologizing for the delay and then share if you’re interested. However, if someone had asked for your notes on a letter that went out a month ago, she clearly doesn’t need your feedback anymore.
“In this case, you have two options. The first is to reply, saying sorry for letting this fall off of your radar and offering future assistance. The second option, if let’s say, you realize Read More Here