By Chip Conley – republished with permission

My friends and co-workers know I’m a little obsessive when it comes to being responsive to emails. When I was at Airbnb, I found that some (often younger) fellow employees might take a few days (or weeks) to respond to an email when they could have just jotted a simple one-sentence “I’ll get back to you by Friday” to manage expectations.

Over time, I came to learn that brief messages with my younger compatriots were better suited for text, WhatsApp, or Slack. Just the same, I wanted them to know why (and how) to READ their email messages. In fact, I had the perfect acronym advice to help them:


The speed of your response is a proxy for how well you respect the person who wrote you.


Don’t be a bottleneck holding up key decisions due to your lack of a response.


Use email as a means of empathetic inquiry to learn more before a decision needs to be made.


In our over-Zoomed lives, it can be a relief to make a decision by email.

Triggered Tantrums

And as long as we’re talking email wisdom, we should also beware of the hasty email full of TnT: triggered tantrums. When I get an email that triggers me, I remember three sentences attributed to Viktor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is your power to choose your response. And, in your response lies your growth and your freedom.” Those words steer me away from the reactionary cliff, which can lead to an email thread from hell.

More doses of wisdom from Chip at the Wisdom Well’s website