Friday, September 26, 2014

How to not sound like a jerk when sending emails - By David Pride

I’m a sensitive Suzy and I’ll admit it. I take things personally sometimes that shouldn’t be taken personally and my feelings get hurt if someone tells me I suck at something that I think I’m great at. I think the sensitivity comes from being a very passionate person who knows just one speed limit, 100 mph. Naturally, when you’re a person such as me you notice things that others may not. One thing I notice a lot is (inadvertently) rude email. You know, email that makes you and me sound like a big jerk and we don’t even realize it. Below are three ways you and I sound like a jerk when we rush to push “send.”
Entire email in the subject line. Let me translate this for you, “Hi David, I’m far too busy to click into the body of the email and write something that may take an additional five seconds and quite frankly you’re not worth the time and effort. Instead I have written this entire email in the subject line. Please follow my request immediately.”

One or two word emails that make no sense if they are not read immediately. This is a common offense.

No greeting, no ending – just instructions. To me this is you essentially telling me here’s what I need you to do, but I don’t have time to type, “Hi David” at the beginning or “Thanks” at the conclusion of the email. Imagine if you and I were at Starbucks getting a Pumpkin’ Spice Latte’ and we just sat down at our table by the window, would you start the conversation with, “We need to meet Friday to discuss why my employees hate me.” And then you get up and leave without saying goodbye. Naturally I would think this was pretty rude behavior and it would leave me confused as to why you treated me that way. But, if you started it with “Hi David, I need to talk with you about why all my employees hate me. Can we meet Friday? I’m in a real rush, I have to go photocopy my middle finger and paste it all over the break room.” At least you said, “Hi” and “Bye.”

Granted there are exceptions to every rule but hopefully these tips will help you from creating any rifts in the workplace. Being a jerk and accidentally sounding like a jerk are two different things. One you can control, the other…well, good luck.

What’s your biggest email pet peeve?

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