How can you stop someone sending you an email? There are no guarantees but with some small adjustments to how you handle messaging you can actually influence what they do. Here are 9 things you can try:

1 - Send fewer emails
Do you have to send the message you are writing? is there another way to get what you need done? Sending emails generates emails. Cut down and you will get fewer in return.

2 - Send to fewer people
Avoid routinely CC'ing and BCC'ing people. Are there other ways you can update them? Do they even need to know? Do they read what you send anyway? Reducing recipients reduces replies.

3 - Reply with a shorter message
We tend to mirror the writing style of the other person. If they are wordy we often follow suit. If we are wordy…you get the idea. Instead keep your messages short and keep them simple, even if they write a lot.

4 - Write sentences that will fit on one line:
Hit enter at the end of each line and start your next point.
You're not writing a novel.
This forces each sentence to work harder, be leaner and clearer.
It also keeps you concise.

5 - Slow down the pace
Take longer to reply. Reduce the volume of email exchanges over time. By slowing down you will probably find the other person has found the answer themselves and doesn't need a response from you at all. Answering emails quickly, all the time train people to expect instant responses and encourage lengthy email exchanges.

6 - Chop/Cut/Edit
When replying cut the trailing history of previous messages so only the last one is visible. Or reply by with a new, more concise email so you can refocus the conversation.

7 - Limit your use of questions
Questions generate answers (and more questions). If that's not what you want turn your questions into statements. So 'How was the conference?" becomes "I hope the conference went well".

8 - Change channels
Break the email flow by phoning, meeting, texting etc. Switch to a channel of communication that's easier, or quicker

9 - Look for patterns
If you receive a lot similar requests for information then make templates to speed up creating your replies. Even better, add answers to commonly asked questions to your existing messages so people don't need to ask at all.

By behaving differently you can reduce the volume of messages you deal with and avoid some messages being sent to you completely.

See also:

Getting to Inbox Zero (or let the emails run)

Training: Getting to Inbox Zero
Faculty: deliver