If you want a response, ask in person.
It’s tempting to send an email. It’s easier. The cost for you to send an email is virtually zero.
But the cost of receiving one is higher than sending one. That’s why many of your emails are ignored. (And it’s why you get spam: a conversion rate of 0.00001% still makes it worth it.)
A better way to interact is over the phone. Nobody calls. It’s costlier–in your time, your preparation, and in the risk that the other person says no. But the cost of making a call and the cost of receiving one are about the same.
The best way to make an ask is in person. The cost for you is high–higher than it is for them. You are paying with your time, your effort, your preparation, and your dollars. You are getting out of your chair, walking to their desk, driving to their office, meeting at a restaurant, or flying to their worksite.
When the cost imbalance is in your recipients’ favor, you’re more likely to get a meeting, a response, a “yes,” a win in the long term.
The bigger reason you should meet in person to make your request instead of emailing is because email does not communicate the attributes that build implicit trust between two people.
Do you trust them? Do they trust you? The non-verbal cues that undergird any relationship are completely absent in an email.
In a recent study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, people were asked to make requests of others–10 requests each. Some were asked to do this in person; others were asked to send the request via email. Both scripts were similar to ensure the only difference between the two requests was the communication medium.
The researchers found that people were 34 times more likely to respond when asked in person instead of over email.
Interacting in person creates implicit trust between two people that cannot be created over email.
If you want a response, don’t send an email. Instead, pick up the phone. Or better yet, get out of your desk and go talk in person.
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