Life is crazy, right? Business is busy. But I’ve seen a trend where the frustration that comes with that is seeping into folks business e-mails. Increasingly it seems blunt, terse, stressed out e-mails with demanding requests fill our inboxes.
“Here is a list of questions I have that I need your response on today” — sent at 4p from a client I’ve note heard from in 2 years.
“Why are you not responding?” in regard to an e-mail I had just received hours before.
“I need this ASAP!” responding to my month-old follow up asking for more info.
These are just a few from this week. Those who e-mail in this manner reflect business as usual — for them. I cringe when I see their names in my inbox. Sadly they show that they do not respect my time or our partnership by communicating in this manner. Unfortunately, the tone of many of these e-mails can make you want to respond in kind. Don’t fall for the “Terse Trap.”? It is your opportunity to respond as the true professional that you are!
If you e-mail me, you get a Hello and a nice greeting regardless of your tone or whether you were nice enough to state the same. I answer all questions point by point, or requests in the case of my WordPress Consulting practice, with details and then the offer of “if you have any questions to please do let me know”. I end all e-mails with a nice closing or a “Take care” and like to keep that human personal touch to all my e-mails.
Yes, business is business, but we are all people doing business with other people. Professionals always communicate as professionals.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer to do business and communicate with people I like. People who show courtesy and concern above and beyond what they may want at the moment.No one person’s time is more or less valuable than the person on the other side.
When you portray this type of attitude in your business e-mail it is sure to cause a resistance to long term partnerships. Customers shouldn’t think they can be rude or terse to providers simply because they are the paying customer. I prefer to not make my living from folks who think in that manner. You may quickly find you will be a customer that some may not work all that hard to keep.
The same goes for managers who communicate rudely to subordinates simply because they are “above them” or are “the boss.”? Those who have this perspective will realize the apparent lack of trust and teamwork is due only to their lack of inspiration of the same. Newsflash: You don’t demand respect; you earn it.
True professionals communicate in a kind and cordial manner regardless of what kind of day they are having, how much stress they are under or if they are frustrated by the tone of an incoming request. True professionals do not use e-mail as a way to pull rank, offer uninformed commentary they wouldn’t otherwise make if face-to-face or disregard courteous protocols that reflect you’ve made the effort to understand the technology in which you are participating.
E-mail is all about perception and those you communicate with look at how you type, what words you choose and how you choose (or don’t make the effort) to use them. Don’t kid yourself for a minute by thinking that e-mail etiquette can be disregarded for even one business e-mail.? It may be just that e-mail where you lose the other side’s confidence, trust, partnership or even willingness to communicate with you further.