Why Emails Titled “It’s very important that everybody in the team reads this” Won’t Be Read

This article gives you tips on how to get your team members to read your important messages. Every game producer faces a situation where he needs other team members to read some documents. Some leaders try sending emails using subject line: “It’s very important that everybody reads this note” (or sometimes with subject line “URGENT! READ THIS”) – yet those emails are not read or acted upon.

Here are 3 reasons why people either read your messages or not:

  • First of all, people need to know why your message is important. Your job is to explain why somebody should read your email. If you just type “urgent” or “important” chances are that people just skip the email thinking “somebody will explain it to me if it’s that important”. But, if you simply tell people with couple of lines why the email is important, you have much bigger chances to get people to read your notes.
  • Second reason: Boy who cried wolf won’t be noted for very long. If every other email you send is tagged “important” or “urgent” then either something is terribly wrong in the project and you guys need to have a serious meeting, or you are simply tagging notes important too often. Instead of trying to keep everybody informed about everything, you might consider thinking if there are some things your team members doesn’t necessarily need to read (unless they voluntary want them). Think twice before making everything important.
  • Third reason: some people might not be sure if they need to read your email. “Everybody” is such a wide term that sometimes team members might not know if “everybody” really means them in this specific situations – especially if you’ve used “important for everybody” in the past without really having important information for everybody. If stakeholders have had a meeting and then you announce that “everybody needs to read their notes” it might not be clear to user interface artist or game play tester to know if they are really included. It might be useful to somehow indicate each individual who needs to read the note.

As in any situation when dealing with people: first think from their point-of-view. Make sure you are writing important notes and only bother those people who really need to read your notes.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Hmm, I’d think if I were a producer and my lackies weren’t reading my emails (regardless of what the subject said), I’d have to have a little talk with them about their future.

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