It’s Friday afternoon and you are ready to hit the door and start your weekend then your phone buzzes and you take a peek and it’s a text from a client in all CAPS and lots of !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your heart drops. You break out in a sweat. Your brain enters overdrive mode and you start envisioning every horrible inconceivable situation you can imagine. So, you pick the phone up to call your client and stare longingly at the door knowing your weekend is not about to get started. 10 minutes later you hang up and take a deep breath. False alarm. Your client was perfectly happy. You just over analyzed their text message and probably lost 5 years off your life.
I am total over analyzer. The topic of email/text etiquette came up at a party we were at over the holidays and the consensus was – we need some boundaries. I am totally guilty of sending texts and emails after hours and on the weekends. BUT 2019 is new year and I am going to use this year as a year of resetting my boundaries with technology and trying to set a good example for clients and coworkers. Here are few things that I think I need to take step back and really work on in 2019 to communicate friendlier:
1. Our world is so face paced now with instant communication gratification at our fingertips and I totally fall into that trap. I’m really bad about wanting to cross something off my list and not taking the time to really think about it. I don’t know how many times I’ve hit send on an email only to instantly think of something I needed to add. So, this year I will step back and take a second to really think when I am sending over project details or complex directions and try to get all of my information into one email. It makes it easier to work off of and easier for reference. The fastest way to overlook a detail is to have it buried in an email chain.
2. I know we have all heard the saying “A lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on mine.” It’s true and with today’s ease of communication this is the fastest way to burn a bridge or become known as “that guy”. I don’t want to be “that guy”. You know the one. The one that is always asking for something at 4:30 and they need it ASAP. This is all about time management and setting due dates.
3. Use common sense when it comes to punctuation and font type. There is no need for anyone to be using all caps and multiple exclamation points in your emails. Nothing irks me more than getting an email and every other sentence has an exclamation point – unless it’s good news! I am really good about not using all caps – I think. But when it comes to exclamation points, I get very generous. Most people that know me in person and not just via email know I am using exclamation points in a fun way – but if you don’t know me you may be reading that email very differently. Take a second to reread your email and double check the tone – especially when delivering negative feedback.
4. Timing of emails is crucial. We send out email campaigns daily and one thing we have spent a lot of time researching is timing. You don’t want to send one out on a Monday – it’ll get overlooked. Fridays aren’t the best either. Same applies for basic email communication. Believe me if you put the effort in to timing your emails, you’ll have a better rapport with your clients/vendors/coworkers. Technology offers us so many opportunities to be more efficient and courteous to other people’s inbox. Respecting other people’s time will set the boundary for other people to respect your time.
Honestly, after putting these few “email/communication best practices” on paper I think they all sound like simple common sense. But we all can get consumed with focusing on getting things done the quickest way possible that we forget to use common sense when communicating. So, here goes, let’s end the vicious cycle of panic texts and emails and start practicing safe communication skills in an instant gratification business environment.