Email is all-pervasive, and arguably one of the most important tools of modern business. But the fact is most of us are not particularly good at it, wasting time on messages we should ignore and losing track of those that we should be focusing on. Then there’s the base human instinct to cc: everyone in our address notebook whenever possible.
What are the best ways to take control and optimize your use of email? Quartz turned to academic research from around the world and other thoughtful sources to compile these insights and suggestions.
If you want a reply, ask simple questions
A group of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University sought to understand how people attend to incoming email. They found that people are more likely to respond to information requests—whether important or trivial—if they’re easy to address. Social messages also get a quick reply because they’re “fun.” By contrast, very important but complex messages that require a lot of work to answer often don’t get a response. (For a recent take on how to get important people to read your emails, you can read Adam Grant’s six-point checklist.)