This topic came up at our office a little over a week ago. We were reviewing various email communications and have come to the conclusion that overall chivalry and manners have really gone out the window when it comes to email communication. To quote our President Mechelle Flowers: “We can say hurtful things and use aggressive rude tones behind the veil of the alphabet that we wouldn’t say in person. Are we as a people getting to the point that we are so comfortable with being rude we are moving into an era when aggressive rudeness is the norm?”
It begs the question as to whether or not our ability to communicate has been devalued because of the lack of person-to-person or do we value our personal priorities above our colleagues, clients and industry partners? Let’s look at a couple of examples.
Email 1: Good morning Mrs Smith. How was your weekend? I wanted to see if you had an update on Project xyz…..
Email 2: Hey. Where is my update on Project xyz? I was expecting some info days ago!! I am now behind because of you!!
The difference is clear. One is kind and is how we would typically treat someone in person and the second really has some kindness and human issues.
Even when it comes to text messaging or using chat on our computer do we take the time to show manners and courtesy or do we just cut to the chase with what WE want. As leaders we teach and preach emotional intelligence but do we set the example? If we know someone has been sick, do we preface our conversation with: “How are you feeling?” If we know someone just celebrated a special event do we preface with: “How was your event? Did you have a good time?” or do we just skip right to our agenda?
In this digital world we can quickly lose the art of kindness, courtesy and just showing good old fashioned manners as it relates to our communications. So remember to be kind and make sure that before you send out any correspondence, ask yourself if you would say this to the person if they were right in front of you. If you are rude and have no problem with that, then you have deeper issues. For most of us though, taking a moment to review our correspondence will surely add to the professional reputation we wish to maintain.
Written by Jonathan Saar