Gender Stereotyping in Email?
With all the stereotyping going on daily, I thought about an interview about men, women, and email etiquette I had done a while ago.
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 questionable appropriateness to his entire list. Some of which were females.
One of the questions posed to me was regarding “a new book that was out,” which stated that men were more cryptic while women preferred pleasantries in email. As 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. But, on the other hand, I’ve also experienced men who were more congenial in their emails than some of the women I’ve typed with. Go figure!
Email vs. Men vs. Women
First, I remember being taken aback by being asked about another book when I had my own out there. My books do not discuss gender differences in email. (Maybe that other author wasn’t available?) The only time I’ve discussed gender concerning email was not to 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 question was asked 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 that so many try to box our behavior in based on gender?
Now we’re “genderfying” email as well? And this was many years ago! The more things change, the more they stay the same, huh?
Email Etiquette is not gender-specific.
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, Email Etiquette applies, and 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 necessary use of your spellchecker have nothing to do with whether you are male or female. It would behoove everyone, regardless of gender, to apply email etiquette skills to their business communications to provide the perception that they are professionals.
Taking the time to communicate with clarity and courtesy is a skill we must continue to work on. That is, if we are serious about being taken seriously and having a flourishing career. Only by doing so will email remain the valuable business communication tool it can be rather than a breeding ground for laziness and miscommunication.