Email is one of the most commonly used forms of communication in the professional world. But what do you do when you see that little flag next to an email in your inbox? What does a flagged email mean, and how should you respond? Here’s everything you need to know about flagged emails.
What Does A Flagged Email Mean
Generally speaking, when an email is flagged, it means that the sender wants a response from you ASAP. The sender may have marked the email as urgent or important, or they may have set a specific flagging date (i.e., they want a response by a certain day). In any case, when you see a flagged email in your inbox, chances are good that the sender needs a prompt reply.
How Should You Respond to a Flagged Email?
After answering what does a flagged email mean, the next question you may have is how to respond to them. If an email has been flagged, it’s usually best to respond as soon as possible. However, if you can’t reply right away, there are a few things you can do to manage expectations and buy yourself some time.
For example, you could send a brief acknowledgment message letting the sender know that you’ve seen their email and that you’ll get back to them shortly. Or, if the email is truly urgent, you could reply with a brief update on what action you’re taking and when they can expect to hear back from you with more information.
In short, when an email is flagged, it’s best to respond promptly—but if you can’t, a brief acknowledgment will usually suffice.
Responses To Emails
There are a number of ways to respond to an email in your inbox, depending on the email you receive. We list five ways how. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, so choose the one that best suits your needs.
“I Need Your Input on This” Email
We’ve all gotten this email before. It usually starts with, “I hope you’re doing well!” (even if they don’t actually care how you’re doing) and then asks for your input or opinion on something. These emails can be tricky to respond to because you don’t want to sound too eager or too uninterested.
The best way to handle these types of emails is to say that you’re happy to provide your input and then ask when a good time would be for a call or meeting. That way, you can discuss the issue in more detail and figure out a solution together.
“Could You Please…?” Email
Similar to the “I Need Your Input” email, these types of emails usually come from someone who needs your help with something. They might be asking for a favor or for you to do something that’s outside of your normal scope of work.
When responding to these types of emails, it’s important to be clear about what you are and are not willing to do. If you’re not comfortable doing what they’re asking, let them know and suggest an alternative solution. But if you are willing to help, make sure you’re specific about what you can do and when you can do it.
“Thank You” Email
These are the emails that are actually a pleasure to see in your inbox! Whether it’s a direct response to something you did or just a general show of appreciation, these kinds of emails always warrant a reply. A simple “you’re welcome” or “glad I could help” will suffice here. No need to overthink it!
“Bad news” Email
No one likes getting bad news, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. These kinds of emails usually contain information that we weren’t expecting—like a project being delayed or a client changing their mind about something.
The best way to respond to these types of emails is with empathy and understanding. Acknowledge that what they’re telling you is difficult and offer any assistance that you can provide.
First, take a deep breath and try to relax. It’s important not to react immediately, as this can often make the situation worse. Second, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What might they have been trying to say? And third, respond calmly and politely. By doing so, you’ll diffuse the situation and hopefully come to a better understanding.
“We need to talk” Email
And last but not least, we have the dreaded “we need to talk” email. One can interpret what does a flagged email mean such as this one on a number of factors. These are never fun to receive, but they are unfortunately a part of business life from time to time. Whether it’s conveying disappointing news or addressing a conflict head-on, these conversations are often best had in person rather than over email.
So if you receive one of these types of emails, the best thing you can do is schedule a meeting as soon as possible so that everyone can voice their concerns directly rather than through written communication which can often be misinterpreted.
Flagged emails can pop up in our inboxes at any time, often without warning! While they may seem daunting at first, most flagged emails are actually pretty easy (and even enjoyable!) to deal with once you know what they are and how to respond appropriately.
Now that you know what does a flagged email mean and how to respond to them, just remember: be clear, be empathetic, and be specific about what you can (and cannot) do — and you’ll be replying like a pro in no time!