4 Things to Try When Your Emails Are Getting No Response (Because You've Got Nothing to Lose)

In the working world, there are plenty of things that will get under your skin and irritate you.

But one of the worst offenders? Not hearing anything back in response to your email—even after you’ve politely followed up.

What’s the deal? You know you have the correct email address, as you’ve corresponded successfully with this person before. You conclude that he or she must purposely be leaving your messages unanswered.

Frustrating, right? My jaw is clenched just thinking about it. But, it happens—we’re all busy, our inboxes become packed to the gills, and the emails that don’t seem as important or time-pressing slip through the cracks.

However, there’s more you can do than to just resign yourself to a life filled with broken-record follow-up messages and nothing but the noise of those dreaded inbox crickets. Here’s how to deal when you think you’re being ignored.

1. Follow Up (With a Deadline)

I know the last thing you want to do is send yet another fruitless email. But, this can be a good strategy if you just want to keep that person in the loop on next steps, cover your bases, and then move on.

The key here is to detail what you’ll do in the absence of a response, as well as when you need a reply by. This could look something like:

If I don’t hear anything back from you before May 6, I’ll move forward with the presentation as is.

Yes, you still may end up with no reply from that person. But, as least you can rest assured that you provided adequate notice—meaning you can avoid any potential fallout that could occur.

Related: Here’s the One Reason People Aren’t Getting Back to Your Emails

2. Switch Up Your Method

You already know you shouldn’t continue doing the same thing while expecting different results. So, nobody can blame you for wanting to step away from your inbox and give a different method a try.

We’ve all come to rely pretty heavily on email. But, believe it or not, there are other communication methods out there—gasp!

If you desperately need a response and have that person’s phone number, give her a call. Is it someone in your building? Well, stop by his desk. Sometimes even snail mail can be effective when you’re willing to try anything to get your message across.

The point is this: If email has been yielding absolutely no results for you, don’t be afraid to give something else a go. If nothing else, you’re sure to at least get that person’s attention.

Related: This One Change Will Improve Your Email Response Rate by 15%

3. Try Someone New

Let’s say you really just need some sort of response or confirmation, but you’re having no luck with the contact you have.

In moments of desperation, you can look for a different person to reach out to. Does that busy executive have an administrative assistant you could check in with? Does that client have someone else in the department that could help?

While you typically want to go straight to the source—and you definitely want to avoid going directly over somebody’s head—there’s usually nothing wrong with seeing if there’s a different source for the information you need.

More often than not, that person will be happy to have the task completely removed from his or her own plate.

Related: Want to Create Emails That People Will Actually Open? Use This Super-Easy Technique

4. Let it Go

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you’re just never going to receive a response. Is that discouraging? Absolutely. But it’s the way things work sometimes.

The most important thing you need to recognize when using the above tactics is when it’s time to accept reality and move on. This is especially important when you’re in a more sales-oriented role, where there’s a dangerously fine line between persistent and pushy.

If you feel like you’ve put your all into getting a reply from that person and are still getting nothing but radio silence? Chalk it up as a loss and move on. In the end, that’ll be much better for your reputation.

Not receiving a response to your email is frustrating, but it’s also pretty common. If you’ve grown tired of feeling ignored, give one (or all!) of these tactics a try.

This article was originally published on Inc. It has been republished here with permission.

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About Richard Moy

Richard Moy
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.

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