Which unanswered questions annoy you

This is how you can remember yourself - without annoying yourself

Last week we wrote about how you remind someone of SOMETHING. Without annoying. Today we write about how to remember YOURSELF. Without annoying.

The difference: if you remind someone to do something, they missed an appointment beforehand. It is different with simple “follow-up”. Here you have not set a fixed deadline, but perhaps written to someone on your own initiative: for example, you have submitted a proposal - and are now waiting for an answer. Or you have submitted a concept, a manuscript, an application - and would like some feedback.

So the other person has not missed a fixed appointment, but takes too long to answer for your taste. They simply worry that they have been forgotten.

It is always a bit difficult to dig deeper. You do not know what the appropriate reaction time is for your counterpart. A week may seem like a long time to you, while a fortnight is a normal reaction time for others.

In addition, you don't know whether the other person is maybe up to their ears at work - and whether they are grateful for a reminder of something they did not manage or whether they are simply annoying them. And you definitely don't want to annoy - after all, you want to maintain a positive business relationship.

So how do you follow up without being annoying?

Not recommended: inquire accusingly

If you have read our newsletter from last week, you already know what is NOT possible: accusing you or you messages like “You have not yet replied to my e-mail”.

Even when wrapped in a sentence that begins with I, accusatory messages have no place. “I'm still waiting for your answer” doesn't sound any better.

Recommended with reservations: Inquire whether the e-mail was received

One way to remind yourself: you can forward the e-mail you wrote to the person addressed and ask whether the e-mail has arrived. Often times, you get her to answer directly and maybe even apologize for not answering so late.

That approach may work. I, Nadja, don't like him that much, though. For one thing, it's a little too transparent - after all, most emails arrive safely in the recipient's inbox. On the other hand, you cause such a guilty conscience.

The problem only begins when the e-mail is in the mailbox: The recipient: the recipient simply has no time or inclination to answer, does not think it is urgent enough to react quickly or has simply forgotten.

Even so, quite often you will be successful with this approach: the person responds. And then usually quite quickly.

The (gentle) pressure variant: announce a call

Ask how things are going - and give them a call. Many respond to this quite quickly, preferring to write an e-mail than to be called.

This can then sound like this:

Good afternoon, Ms. Mannheimer,

have you already had the opportunity to take a look at my concept? I look forward to your feedback on this. I'll call you on Friday to do this.

Particularly elegant: Deliver new information - and attract attention

An example: You made a proposal to the journalist Elke West for an interview on a certain topic. Ms. West has not yet responded to your email after ten days. Ask if she needs any further information on this topic from you or send me the current study that you have just found on it. This is the gentle way to bring yourself to mind without it acting like a memory. It is crucial that it is really new and useful additional information.

The deadline variant: inform you that a window is closing

The advantage of this variant is that you have an objective reason for your memory. So the urgency doesn't just come from your feelings.

An example:

Good afternoon, Mr. Kronberger,

A few weeks ago we sent you an offer for our open writing seminar.

You are interested in our July date, July 15, 2020. We currently have two places available for this. The registration period ends on Friday, June 19th, 2020.

In the meantime, please let us know whether you would like one of the two places.

We hope, of course, that you rarely need to apply today's tips. But just in case you have to remind yourself ... As always, we look forward to your feedback and your experiences.

We wish you a good day and: stay healthy!

Nadja Buoyardane and Franziska Nauck


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