I received an e-mail today stating I am nit picky and that typing in caps or using formatting just isn’t a “big deal.” I do not state anywhere that doing so is a big deal. What I explain is that it is the source of many a misunderstanding because senders are not making sure their meaning or intent is how they want to be perceived.
Those who type in all caps, bold and increase font size, then get upset when the other side perceives the intent those actions relay. Since the inception of e-mail (before Judith BTW) typing in all caps was a way of accentuating your meaning. Yelling, screaming, whatever you want to call it, typing in caps was to make a point.
After all these years, it still seems folks still do not realize that what words they choose to use and how they choose to type them, makes a difference. In business this can make a huge difference! When formatting is used it will determine how intent of your e-mail will be perceived.
tr.v. per·ceived, per·ceiv·ing, per·ceives
1. To become aware of directly through any of the senses, especially sight or hearing.
2. To achieve understanding of; apprehend.
How does the person on the other side comprehend your intent or meaning? By the words you choose, how you use them and how you may decide to format them. If you bold certain terms, make them red and a larger font – what do you think the person on the other side is going to perceive? That you are making a point – to say the least.
The problem here is that by relying on formatting, you are leaving the level of emphasis to be determined by the person(s) on the other side. You could send the same e-mail to 5 different business associates and find each perceives a different level of emphasis due to the relationship dynamics between you. So you can see how using formatting in lieu of proper word choice is risky at best!
I guess the bottom line is whether you like it or not – these perceptions will be there. To choose to ignore this issue because you don’t like it or you don’t want to take the time to make sure your intent is clear, won’t change the fact that you will be judged by the words you choose to use and how you use them. Especially if you are online for commercial gain. Your lack of e-mail skills can be a deal-breaker. Count on it.
I am of the belief that having a strong vocabulary and command of the English language negates the need for any formatting. Call me wacky!
Nihil est in intellectu quod non fuit prius in sensu.
“Nothing is in the understanding, which was not first perceived by some of the senses.”