If you ask someone multiple questions in an email and she only answers one of them, there probably is a reason why.

It is because you didn’t do enough to ensure that the message contained more than one question. As writers, we all need to remember that when a reader doesn’t understand something, it is rarely the reader’s fault. If you have multiple questions, the reader needs to know that quickly.

Writers often mention one topic in the subject line, discuss that in the opening paragraph or two, and apparently assume that the reader will keep reading and see the additional questions.

Alert the reader in the opening sentence to the fact that you have multiple topics to cover, and then tell the reader what the topics are. I need to ask you about A) the date of the management training, B) the location, and C) the attendees. By itemizing the topics, you distinguish each one and you provide a road map for the reader by indicating the order in which you will talk about them.

Then discuss your points, and insert the corresponding letters or numbers at the start of each topic.

A)      We chose September, but I am wondering if earlier would be better …

B)      Location – Is Conference Room A large enough? We are likely to have 20 participants, and the table in that room only seats 12 comfortably …

C)      Should we limit the number of attendees? …

The traditional email process for many people is to sit down, frantically type, put a period at the end, hit “send,” and then wonder why they get an incomplete response, or no answer at all. By presenting information in a logical order and in an easily readable format, you will ensure that the reader grasps your idea and continues reading.