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Want your question answered? Ask it last.

by Tris Hussey on July 27th, 2007

My friend Ben Yoskovitz laments a common problem we all have faced dealing with folks via e-mail…not getting a critical question answered:

And that’s frustrating. You can’t keep asking the same question over and over, and presumably you’re asking the question because you really want an answer.

Tip: The last question you ask in an email is the one that will get answered.

People will skim your email, get to the bottom and see a call to action. If you’ve peppered your email with other questions, it’s very likely people will miss them, or won’t bother responding. They will key in on the last question. Source:Simple Email Hack: Get Your Questions Answered : Instigator Blog

 Is it that simple?  Yeah, it is.  People like action items.  And when reading people tend to forget stuff along the way of an e-mail (remember people read 30% slower on screen and with 50% less comprehension-you might also like to know these other quirks in our brains).  By the time you reach the end, yeah a reminder of the question is needed.

I think the same thing works for proposals.  At the end of the document, just summarize the next steps.

Simple tips, but it might save a bunch of “you still haven’t answered the key question that I need to move forward…” e-mails.

POSTED IN: GTD, Time savers, E-mail, Software tips

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