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I wrote an email to someone who's a manager on another team, and there were two parts to it that were labeled 1. and 2., but she only answered the second question. I had CC'd two people in the email who need to have an answer about 1..

How can I politely ask her for an answer on the first question? I'm not sure how to do this without sounding annoying, especially because they are a manager.

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    I do this occasionally. A "thank you! Can you please address the first question as well?" would be an appropriate response. Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 22:03
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    This probably is highly culture dependent. Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 14:38

2 Answers 2

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I wouldn't make it more complicated than:

Hey X,

Thanks for the answer on 2, the XYZ of it was very insigftful. What about 1? Do you have any guidance for the FOOBAR issue presented there?

And that's it. No reason to point out any mistakes or guess, just gently nudge the person for the answer.

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  • Thanks for the info. I agree that it shouldn't be complicated.
    – Bodrov
    Commented Aug 6, 2020 at 14:52
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Here's another way of looking at it: if only one part of your email was answered, perhaps your email was too long or not focused enough?

When you're looking for a quick answer from someone, you want to condense your question to the absolute minimum. If you mix several 'conversational threads' then this can get confusing, especially because email clients don't handle those as well as they handle focused threads.

For example, compare the following:

Marc isn't in the office and he's the one who usually handles contact with Client X and now it's the end of the month, so we need to send an invoice but we don't know who to send the invoice to on their side since their usual contact [person A] is on holiday until the 15th of next month so how do I solve this?

with this:

Who do I send the invoice for Client X to since [person A] is on holiday until the 15th?

In the first example, you have to do a lot of reading before you're able to understand the point of the email and get to the actual question. In the second email, you're ready to answer the question after reading a single sentence.

Condensing information like this isn't easy, there's a famous quote that boils down to "I didn't have time to shorten my letter so I wrote a long one instead" (Blaise Pascal if I recall correctly) and it's true. Especially when you're unpracticed at this, it can take a lot more time to condense an email down to its bare essential form than it takes you to just 'wordvomit' all the information onto (digital) paper and send it off.

The thing to remember here is that you're trying to achieve a goal: you want the information this other person has. Going back and forth, or having to ask several times will cost much more time than if you just invest that little bit of extra time now to make your email short and succinct.

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