Monday, April 23, 2007

Hey, buddy, read this @$!#!% blog

Over the weekend, one of the rudest business emails I have ever received landed in my inbox.

The writer -- I won't identify the gentleman here -- chastised me for having the "gall" to not acknowledge an email he sent me in response to some questions I had emailed him. He accused me of being "too big to even take a minute" to thank him for the "damn response" he provided to my inquiries.

He then demanded that I provide him the contact information for the editor at the publication for which I wrote the article. In closing, this person wrote: "It is 'journalists' like you who aren't worth my time!"

Would this guy have spoken to me over the phone or face-to-face in that tone or manner? Doubtful. But an email to someone you've never met or never spoken to before, as is the case here, seems to give some people carte blanche to be as unfriendly and distasteful as they'd like.

Unfortunately, email gives impolite people a mask to hide behind.

Fortunately, we've got help to unmask this problem. Books instructing us on proper email etiquette are popping up almost as fast as spam. One of them, "The Bliss or 'Diss' Connection: Email Etiquette for the Business Professional," is by communications expert Cherie Kerr.

"Sadly, I think many people tend to weaken their business relationships rather than strengthen them with the use of email," Kerr says. "Introducing decorum and protocol is what we have needed for some time." Indeed, the author of the missive I got over the weekend not only has weakened the potential for a business relationship with me, he has destroyed it.

Not long after I was sent the nasty email, I bought a new book at Barnes & Noble called "Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home," by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe. Aside from authoring this book, the two scribes even are soliciting stories online about bad emails you've seen or heard about.

The email I got committed one of Shipley's and Schwalbe's "Eight Deadly Sins of Email" by insulting me so much that I figuratively had to get up from my desk. One piece of advice in their book is relevant in this situation: "When it comes to angry emails, ask yourself before hitting the Send key: Would you deliver the same message, in the same words, if you were within punching distance?" In this instance, my correspondent's answer should have been "no."

For the record, I did apologize by email for not having properly thanked this gentleman for his time. Overall, I addressed his grievances while also defending myself. And I did offer a way to contact my editor.

He mentioned in the email that he didn't know me from Adam. Well, the way he treated me was the way you'd expect a parent to scold an unruly child. By the way, I am not a child. I am a journalist with more than 20 years of experience who has achieved success, in part, by not dousing phone calls, letters or emails with verbal vinegar.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some nice, professional emails to write.


Kalamaf Drackonsbane said...

Wow, the guy sounds like quite a tool! Just stick his email addy in your spam filter and move on. =)

dropshipcavern said...

John, in my opinion people should have more respect for one another through email, telephone and especially in person. If we all treated each other with more respect, then that would make everday situations alot easier to resolve.

Being respectful of one another is key to the communication process.
If we do this, it will keep a cool mind set and facilitate the process
of finding a solution to any problem. And as far as email ettiquete, i think a simple "thank you in advance" is sufficient when i email someone.

I have also placed a link to you from my site. Would you be kind enough to place a link back:)

I'll say Thank you in advance for the link;)

Ivan - The free resource for learning how to create and start a business.

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