With all the stereotyping going on pretty much on a daily basis, I caught myself thinking about an interview that I had about men, women and email etiquette.
Back in the day, yeah — way back in the day, I was on Fox News discussing Email Etiquette. If I remember correctly this was due to some famous coach sending out mass emails of a questionable appropriateness to his entire list. Some of which were females. Have an email etiquette faux pas hit the news, and that’s when I get contacted for comment.
One of the questions posed to me was in regard to “a new book that was out” that stated that men were more cryptic while women preferred pleasantries in email. Having been an email user for decades, I’ve never made that correlation. I’ve seen just as many cryptic or less than pleasant female authored emails. I’ve also experienced men who were more congenial in their emails than some of the women I’ve typed with. Go figure!
Tired of Gender Stereotypes
First I remember being taken aback being asked about another book, when I had my own out there. My books did not discuss gender differences. (Maybe that other author wasn’t available?) If anything I mention to not assume gender by virtue of a name.
I also remember at the time thinking that to be an odd question. The look on my face must have prompted the additional inquiry into “how to handle” the communication nuances in email habits between genders. The way it was asked was with the presumption that there was one.
My response? Men and women communicate differently in all modes of communication. Men are different than other men. Women are different than other women. Why is it so many try to box us in by gender? Now Email Etiquette as well? And this was many years ago! The more things change; the more they stay the same, huh?
Let’s get this out there…
Email Etiquette is not gender specific. It never crossed my mind that intent or tone in an email was different based on the gender of the sender. I take folks at their word, the words they choose to use, how they use them and how they type them.
I’ve emailed longer than most folks, not once did I correlate gender vs. email habits. Not a single time. But then, it’s not my natural inclination to do that with anything.
Regardless of the “whys” when it comes to how men and women communicate as they do, email etiquette still applies. In business you do not get to pick and choose how you want to communicate based on your gender.
Proper sentence structure, greetings, a courteous closing and the basic use of your spellchecker has nothing to do with whether you are male or female. At the end of the day, it would behoove everyone regardless of gender, to apply their email etiquette skills when it comes to their business communications, so as to provide the perception that they are professionals.
Taking the time to communicate with clarity and courtesy is a skill each and every one of us must continue to work on moving forward. That is if we are serious about being taken seriously and having a flourishing career. Only by doing so will email remain the valuable communication tool it can be rather than a breeding ground for laziness and miscommunication.