Have you ever been left hanging on an email thread? Remember the frustration of expecting a reply, and realizing that itís not coming? A recent post in the New York Times discusses the frustration we feel over unanswered email. Why wonít they answer? Have we somehow offended them? Should we wait a little longer, or should we pick up the phone and see if thereís a problem?

Naturally, itís usually nothing major that kept a reply from coming back. Maybe they deleted the email by mistake, or they picked it up and were going to reply but forgot. Or perhaps they waited so long they were embarrassed to respond. There are any number of reasons that an email might legitimately get lost, forgotten or misplaced. Then there are the non-responders.

Non-responders donít think they are being rude, and instead delude themselves by thinking itís ďpoliteĒ to just let emails evaporate without answering. Instead of responding and dealing with an issue head on, they hope that the sender will simply forget about the entire issue and go away. Some may assume that a non-response is simply another way to say "no".

However, as an article in Esquire magazine asserts, itís the gracious little things like returning calls and emails that build a strong professional reputation. The next time you receive an email from a colleague that you donít want to deal with, reconsider and put yourself in the other personís place for a moment and show professional manners.