Email tip: Don't forget to ask your question

Raymond Chen

Sometimes people get so caught up in their problem that they forget to ask a question.

My customer has noticed that blah blah blah blah, but if they do blah blah, then they get blah blah blah. This is different from blah blah blah, where blah blah blah. But neither is what the customer is expecting, which is blah blah blah. After installing blah blah blah, we found that the behavior changed to blah blah blah. What the customer is trying to do is blah blah blah. As a workaround, they’re doing blah blah blah before doing the blah blah, and then doing another blah blah afterwards.

Yeah, that’s all very nice, but what’s your question? Is this just an informational message, or are you looking for help? And if you’re looking for help, what specifically do you need help with? Often, people will indeed get around to asking their question, but they’ll bury it inside the body so it’s hard to find. (This is especially the case for people who have email signatures that are two hundred words long, the subject of another rant entirely. Even if they put the question at the end, you can’t find it since what’s the “end” of the message is really “two thirds of the way through the message” since the last third of the message is email signature.) If you’re going to have a long introduction before you get to your question, please announce your questions so that people who are skimming your message can find the interesting bit.

After that long introductory paragraph, you might continue with the following:

My questions:

  1. Does this technique appear sound?
  2. Is there a way to get the blah blah blah to happen automatically when I do a blah blah blah?


Discussion is closed.

Feedback usabilla icon