I just took a look-see in my Junk folder only to find a two day old e-mail from one of my less than amiable contacts. So I thought it would be a good springboard for a post and to use it as a teachable moment.
The little things matter — a lot!
In this case, this particular person has always been lean on e-mail skills. More times than not they do come off as demanding and in some cases just plain rude. Generally, if I know a person well, and like them, I know it is just that they do not reflect that in their e-mail so I cut them some slack. This is not one of those cases.
When you add that established tone, a precedent has been set. E-mails like the one I discovered in my spam folder today do not contribute to improving our partnership. Rather it solidifies the already negative attitude that I have. I know it is a matter of time before I extricate myself from the relationship. When I see this name in my inbox I audibly groan. If you have contacts like this you know what I mean.
This particular message today, did not include any actual text in the e-mail. Only an attachment that was a Word doc. And that Word doc had nothing in it other than an embedded graphic. No Hi or Hello. No explanation of what they wanted me to do. The Subject: field was “File”. I was to assume the attachment spoke for itself. But it didn’t.
A No Nothing Spammy E-mail
This contact did not take the time or feel the need to include a simple “can you check this out and advise?” No thank you in advance — no nothing. So, as usually is the case, I was courteous and professional and asked why that e-mail was sent to me. An extra step that could have been easily avoided if only a little explanation was included.
Being the e-mail only contained an attachment, it was identified as spam by my filters. Only spammers send no nothing e-mails! While I check my spam folder on a regular basis, that usually waits until I have time. Now is a busy time of the year for me as clients start planning for their holiday promotions and campaigns. I usually check my Junk folder every day but because I am swamped I skipped a day.
This is why I always recommend you review the e-mails in your Junk before doing a mass delete/clear/empty. E-mails get sent there erroneously all the time due to those who see no need to take the time to communicate with clarity and courtesy.
When you send e-mails in this manner, your risk your e-mail not being read as soon as you like. Busy folks who only have the luxury of reviewing their spam folders when they have time — sometimes may not do that for a day or two — or more.
In came the voicemail — “What about my file — call me!”.
The approach this contact continually practices does come off as demanding and terse. There is nothing else to indicate otherwise. They are just bossy. This is where taking the time to include all the little courtesies I type about on this site come into play. Even if you are the bossy type, it would behoove you to make the effort to soften that. Otherwise folks just will not want to communicate with you.
If the e-mail had included all those little things that this person didn’t want to take the time to include, I probably would have already replied. Instead, since I just discovered it, it goes into my “To Do” folder behind those who do include all those little things this person finds unnecessary.
Even when sending personal e-mails, especially to new acquaintances and contacts you make on Facebook, Twitter or the like, the littlest of efforts, will go a long way to encouraging future communications. And look forward to seeing your name in their inbox!