I have many websites, and I do tons of writing that requires me to read, reread, and read again. I can go back to things I have written sometime later and find errors that I missed. Many times I’m surprised I missed them in the first place.
How could I miss that? Was my site hacked? Of course not. It happens to everyone. No one is perfect.
Because of this, some kind soul ends up at my website and discovers my mistake. They take the time to email me so that I can make the appropriate corrections. Some even commenting that they too have experienced what I call “Invisible Error Syndrome.”
Taking Corrections with Grace
What do I do when I receive these emails? Nine out of ten emails I receive are sent with genuine, sincere concern to want to help, probably because they’ve been there, done that.
However, some are less than professional and feel the need to correct me as though I am a 5-year old that needs scolding. All the while noting their accomplishments with their alphabet soup after their name to lend credence, and apparently their arrogance, to their corrections.
Fine — the way I look at it, their approach says more about them than me. Either way, I have been offered the opportunity to learn something and correct my errors. These corrections serve to make my sites better, and that, not my ego, is the bottom line for me.
I thank them and offer my humble apologies for missing it in the first place. It is my mistake, my oversight — my error. I don’t make excuses. I own it.
Corrections are a Bonus
I take corrections in stride, and I am comfortable with the fact I am not perfect. I realize that there is no way I am never going to make a mistake or overlook an error. No matter how hard I try. And believe me, I make probably more effort than most.
It’s like having a second pair of eyes that catch what I miss. If someone takes the time to help me out, regardless of tone or motive, the result is the same. They have helped me to make my article and my website better.
Always Be Open to Improvement
The same goes for Email Etiquette. None of us are perfect. Unfortunately, many have never had any formal training or education regarding Email Etiquette and proper technology use. And contrary to popular belief, the online world is not a free-for-all.
But Email Etiquette is a subset of learning how to write coherently and properly. You can follow all the guidelines I discuss on my websites, but the bottom line is that you have to write properly and clearly.
Business is Not Informal
Many have the incorrect perception that email is totally informal. But, unfortunately, nothing is informal when it comes to running a successful business. Add texting to the mix, and there are definitely poor impressions being made and opportunities lost.
There are living, breathing human beings behind these screens — all with feelings, most trying to do their best. And in business, how you engage, promote, and nurture your email relationships and conversations can literally determine your level of effectiveness and success.
Be Thankful for Corrections
If it is pointed out to you in a kind manner that you need to work on your email skills, or that you did something incorrect online, or say you overlooked an error on your website, don’t get offended and huffy.
Promptly thank the person who brought the issue to your attention. Then, go about correcting the situation and make efforts in the appropriate areas to resolve it for the long haul.
Kindly Help Others
If you find someone needs help with Email Etiquette or found mistakes you want to make them aware of, don’t belittle them or attempt to make them feel stupid. If you cannot make corrections or suggestions with kindness, then don’t bother.
I’ve never understood why some actually use the commodity of precious time to be intentionally rude or condescending when pointing out others’ mistakes. I guess that makes them feel superior.
I also do not understand why some folks react so negatively when being kindly corrected. Being open to our mistakes is how we learn and grow.
By helping other folks learn, we are all doing a service to the online community by making this environment more profitable and enjoyable for all to participate in. Don’t get mad if you don’t know everything yet. Don’t rest on your laurels and think that you do.
And most importantly, don’t kill the messenger if someone points that out to you. Instead, give and take corrections with grace, and you’ll find the online world to be that empowering environment you’ve heard about.