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A Little Email Courtesy Goes a Long Way

Manners matter in email too!

Recently, I was ill. What I experienced is probably something many of you have, or will, so I thought I would share it with you.

It was one of the few times since I started my business over 24 years ago that I did not check respond to emails on a Friday — and then on Saturday. I let clients know from the start, that I keep to business hours, that I am not available by text and that I tend to play hooky on Friday afternoons. This way I set expectations right up front.

This particular Friday, I was too sick to get out of bed. I wish I was “playing hooky.” I didn’t go near my computer on that Saturday either. Just the thought of doing so was exhausting!

You don’t realized how you take feeling good every day for granted — until you don’t.

I do make a point of at checking email on Saturdays to delete spam, clear my inbox and to address any emergencies (perceived or otherwise). If it is not an emergency the email can wait until Monday.

Then I got sick. Little did I know what not checking email on that particular weekend would lead to.

It’s not all about you…

On Monday when I responded I was out of pocket and not feeling well that Friday, the responses were one extreme or another. Most folks were understanding and compassionate. Others, well, all I can say is yikes.

Several who wondered why I had not responded in my usual prompt fashion, (I am known for responding to emails during business hours within hours) offered encouragement that I would feel better soon. They also sent along their best wishes and let me know that their requests could wait until I felt better.

These folks brought a smile to my face and reminded me why I enjoy my job. And working with them.

Bees may sting…

Remember, that old saying “You attract more bees with honey”? In some cases, no amount of honey will make a difference.

A particular individual sent four follow up emails (and texts) insinuating I was ignoring them. They claimed that I didn’t consider their request important. “I really need your response now whether you think it is important or not!”

With this particular individual their project had dragged on almost 3 months past the target completion date. What they needed a response to was information I had already provided on several occasions. If they were to look, they could find the information they were looking for within those previous emails.

So, I don’t respond to an email sent on a Friday, until Monday and we jump to these conclusions? These were not urgent requests due to hacking, sites being down or the like where I could understand the need for immediate action.

Courtesy and Stern Professionalism

I always respond with courtesy and give the other side the benefit of the doubt. When I receive emails that are accusatory or based on a false premise, I do not respond in kind. I correct the record in a professional, factual and informative manner.

But with some folks, the hits just keep on coming.

When I mentioned I had been ill and was disappointed at being accused of neglect the response was…

How was I to know you were sick!

No apology followed. Crickets.

Sadly, Some Folks are Not Worth the Effort

I cut this individual loose. You don’t have to work with everyone who comes your way. You do not have to continue on with those who are unable to treat you with respect. And that’s okay.

A little courtesy goes a long way. Please, thank you, appreciate your help, is everything alright? Taking the time to insert comments like this can lend to you being perceived as though everything isn’t all about you.

Because, guess what? It isn’t.

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