I discovered today that if you send an email promising an attachment, but you forget to attach it, you’re far more likely to have a real interaction with the recipient. Today, I was using a mail merge in Word to send out a friendly reminder to about 85 people at work that I didn’t know. I asked them to do a simple task, and to follow the attached instructions, which they had received a couple of times already but chose to ignore,

Of the 85 people I contacted, I got 30 emails saying “Hey, where’s my attachment?” I learned that 10 people had left the company unexpectedly. Another 15 found their old instructions and signed up without bothering to engage me.

Now this was the third time they were asked to do this, so it was surprising to me that 55 out of 85 recipients were checked off my list, leaving a short list of people who would do well to take my time management class.

I really connected with the 30 folks who wrote back. It was a chance to wish the sick people a get well soon, and to say goodbye to a few people who were on their way out.

It was unexpectedly productive to withhold the needed information on the third go round. Food for thought.