ACK E-mail

When two devices communicate with one another, the receiver of a message responds with an ACK message, acknowledging that it received and understood the sender’s message. If the receiver does not understand the message, it sends a NACK acknowledging receipt and signaling that the message came in corrupted. In either instance, the sender knows that the message arrived when it receives a response.

You should do something like this when you communicate through e-mail. I suggest that any time you receive e-mail from somebody, you immediately respond to the person to let them know you have received the message. If the person asked you some questions and you cannot answer them right away, still let them know that you received the message and tell them when you plan to respond to the questions. Acknowledge that you may forget to respond later and let them know you do not mind getting a reminder if you have not responded in a timely fashion. If you do not know the reason or purpose of a message you received, send a note stating what you do not understand. Do not simply ignore these messages or put them off until later when you have more time to think about them. For example:

I have attached to this message a description of a new business idea I want to pursue. When you have a few minutes, please look it over and let me know what you think about it.
– Frank

Dear Frank,
I took a quick glance at the idea you sent me. I will not have time to really examine it until Wednesday. Feel free to send me a reminder note if you do not hear from me by Thursday.

– Frank

ACK or NACK e-mail messages and you will improve communications with everybody who writes you. Without the acknowledgements, the sender does not know if you simply ignored the message, you received it and do not know what to write back, or their message ended up in your spam folder. If you acknowledge that you received a message, you will not unintentionally create the allusion that you want to avoid the other person and the other person will know that their message got delivered to you. This simple step builds trust and encourages continued communication between you and the other person.