Apr 11 2011


It used to be just the Post


Office took forever to get


the message to you. Now,


dumb emails are joining


the snail parade.



The Post Office–no doubt next in line for more government bailouts of lethargic incompetent organizations–remains fully responsible for (and permanently disabled from) getting slaughtered in the marketplace.

They’ve been pummeled by emails, FedEx, UPS, and all the other non-government-affiliated, more convenient, better quality, better performing delivery and shipping methods and organizations.

These private enterprise businesses, keep in mind, bloomed overtly, and directly under the Post Office’s wanted-poster eyes.

But email snailmail?

Email communication failures that end up delaying message accuracy are strictly the doing of the senders.

Every time an email fails (I calculate the frequency of non-spam fairly important yet thoroughly convoluted messages arriving bedraggledly into the stage center glare of my monitor screen spotlight to be about four or five times a week), it’s the sender’s fault.


It’s something like throwing a fourth quarter tie-game seventy-yard Hail Mary Pass directly into the encircling waiting arms of the fleet-footed, leaping downfield receiver, but it turns out to be a golfball. 


First off, emails are not just short letters or long text messages. They do not take the place of one-on-one or group meetings. They are not substitutes for phone calls. Carrier pigeons? Well.  

Emails are emails are emails.

  • When we GET them, they are either junk or important, or they’re provocative or relevant-sounding enough to get past the spam sentries (but are still probably junk).
  • When we SEND them, we labor over them and painstakingly tend to editing and refining the message and recipient list and including just the right amount of cordiality. I mean, don’t act like you’ve never sat back and tried to imagine how your message will be received.


  • We just mindlessly FWD those we think will amuse or entertain or educate certain collections of family, friends, and acquaintances.

Right? Ah, but sadly, the answer is: no; that’s not all.


There is one more omnipresent category –the silent majority it seems to me– that careth not a thing about who or what circumstances may be on the receiving end.

(At least on the phone, you can hear if someone has a miserable cold!) 

Is it just my imagination, or do most emails lack forethought, editing care, and common courtesy?



Since the electronic nature of the medium is so impersonal, we are therefore justified in acting impersonal with the tone and content of what we send? Is it really necessary to not include some sort of greeting or sign-off courtesy?

Why not just staple-gun the thing onto the tree in front of my office and wait for me to notice it?

It really doesn’t take much to say “Hi Joe” which is a nice thing, unless your name is Diane or something. And it’s not like time-consuming hard work to end with “Regards” or “Have a great day” or :Stuff it!” or SOMEthing. Really.

Which brings the subject of ESNAILMAIL full circle. Why is email time-consuming? Because too many email senders “wing it” and pay little or no attention to detail, or rely fully on attachments which don’t open, or that set off alarms, or come packaged with 27 cute little pop-ups trying to sell exploding washcloths (no need to launder ;<) . . .

. . . and then –because they don’t get it right the first time– have to RE-send a corrected or edited or updated version to say what they should have taken the time and trouble to say right the first time. VOILA! A phone call would have saved time. 

Oh, and while I’m at it, please stop with the Reply emails that say things like: “OK” or “Got it” or Sure thing” or Later” or “Let’s do it!” –especially with all 106 prior emails in the string still attached.




# # #


www.TheWriterWorks.com or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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May 23 2010

Appreciation vs. Depreciation

The farther apart we go,


 the closer we need


to be.


     As time and technology continue to stretch the great divide they’ve created between human beings . . . and personal relationships become less personal . . . the importance of common sense and common courtesy rises to the surface with more pronounced impact than ever before.

     The HR and sales management rule of thumb, “Praise in public and criticize in private” has — for example — no less common sense meaning now, with increased communication reliance on emails and text messages, than it did in the days when every encounter was a personal face-to-face experience. In fact, the integrity of that “Praise and Criticize” guideline is even more important today.

     Why is that? Because today, we rely more on short, concise, written notes, and every communication is traceable. When someone is praised by email for exceptional performance, everyone in the ranks should get a Cc. When someone is criticized, and Bcc’s are flying around, poor judgement is being exercised, and hidden agendas overwhelm integrity.

     If you run your business on a need-to-know basis, and that works for you, then stick to that and don’t entertain exceptions. If you have a broader interpretation of management transparency and practice across-the-boards openness with all your people, and that works for you, don’t drift into occasional closed door sessions or transmissions. Consistency is what builds business success because it’s what fosters customer, employee and supplier loyalty.

     Customers, employees and suppliers all like to know where they stand. They appreciate business policies, procedures, and approaches that are predictable, and that — even if they disagree with them — they can be assured of no surprises!

     Common courtesy of course is most evident with every exchange, in writing and electronic transmission, in person and on the phone. It is so evident because it is so simple, takes so little effort, but works wonders for every recipient: “Please” and “Thank you!” may sound like dumb old customs to some in this day and age, but nothing else has ever risen in all of history that accomplish more than those three words. [And at-home applications are as important as on-the-job.]

     People are hired and fired, sold and unsold, respected and disrespected by the subjective measures of others as to the genuineness with which these three words are expressed, and if, in fact, they are expressed at all. Those who let “Please” and “Thank you!” flow freely (yes, even when the waitress puts your silverware down or pours you a glass of water, even when a delivery person brings you something you don’t want!) are the people who spread positive attitudes and who will achieve the most success.

     No need to take my word for it. Simply observe those words in emails, hear them in person and on the phone and — assuming they’re delivered with some sense of authenticity — judge for yourself what your impressions are of the person using these expressions of courtesy vs. those you observe and hear who don’t. It’s your call. Thank you for your consideration! 

 Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! God Bless America, and God Bless our troops “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]  Make today a GREAT Day!

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