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Confirm Receipt

Professionals everywhere:

Confirm that you received an email, especially when it contains a contract, files, important directions, or anything else where “hey, I got this” could be handy for the sender.

You know what happens when you don’t? The other person has to wonder if it just a spam folder, got buried in a bunch of emails, accidentally deleted because you clicked on the wrong thing, misdelivered, or otherwise just didn’t get to you.

If you’re the sort of person who leaves emails unread to deal with them[1], try this:

  1. Reply that you got something
  2. Flag the email as unread

Better yet, quickly process the email to at least add it to a to-do list or download to file into a working folder. But, at bare minimum, confirm receipt.

Confirming receipt is a small sign that promotes trust and acknowledging responsibility. You know, things that actually indicate professionalism.

That is all.

– Ryan

[1] Also, there are many better methods for dealing with work processes.

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3 Responses to Confirm Receipt

  1. Brian Engard says:

    I agree with the above; as a freelancer, nothing irritates me more than sending an email out into the ether and waiting days for a response. Part of this may be my obsessive need to respond in full to every email same day. That’s not to say I’ll finish a project same day (I’m not some sort of superhuman writing machine, after all), but if someone sends me an email and I haven’t addressed their comments and questions in some way by the end of the day, I take it as a personal failing.

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      Sometimes I still send a receipt, or IM it. I did today for receiving a contract I need to countersign, because I can’t countersign it right away, but I will be able to when I get to my iPad in a couple hours.

      The act of confirming something helps me to remember to address it. But I don’t always in those cases. When it gets to be something that I know either I won’t get to for several hours or days, or something that doesn’t require action based on replying to the sender (like if they send me files to edit), I definitely send a receipt.

      Also, sometimes sending that confirmation acknowledges “hey, keep working, don’t wait for me, I’ll get to you soon.” So, there are multiple results and purposes.

      – Ryan

  2. Wayne Zombie says:

    I also keep a folder for important things to be dealt with. Flagging it as unread is pretty important, you’ll see your Deal With folder has unread mail in it.