As the proprietor of two e-mail etiquette sites, it is common for folks to give me a hard time about how I am too sensitive when it comes to e-mail etiquette. I’ve also been told that I make a “big deal” out of nothing and that I am “old fashioned”. I resemble that remark!
These same onliners go on to say how all this “e-mail etiquette stuff” really doesn’t matter.
Just last week I was asked “Who do you think you are?” (I’ll save the answer to that for another time!) More than a couple onliners stated they don’t care what others think of them based on their e-mails. That is their choice. But is it a wise one?
Perception is the Only Reality. Fact.
Is it possible to truly not care if you leave a unfavorable impression? There is nothing wrong with caring about how you are perceived. You get up in the morning, take a shower, iron your clothes, groom your hair — all because you care about how you look, right? (Well, maybe you don’t — in that case then I get where you are coming from.) You pay attention to your personal grooming not necessarily because of what others may think but because you want to put your best foot forward.
When you send an e-mail in all lower case, filled with typos and grammatical errors, what is the person on the other side of the screen to think? When you forward e-mails without review or comment and no thought as to whether the other side will actually be interested, how does that make you look? Thoughtful? Doubt it.
How You Are Perceived is Up to You
Those who know you very well will probably shrug their shoulders. They may wonder why you don’t make the simple effort to reflect a little courtesy. While those who don’t know you will form an impression. About the type of person you are and what is important to you based on the efforts made.
Some of these impressions include what level of education you may not have (educated folks communicate in an educated manner). Or, why you do not seem to care about how others will view you by simply communicating properly. You could be perceived as a fish out of water when it comes to proper technology use. Worse yet someone who is so narcissistic that they are unable to think about those on the other side of the screen. None of which are positive impressions.
First Impressions Happen
…and you can control what they will be. By understanding the nuances of proper technology use and making the minuscule effort required to reflect knowledge, courtesy and understanding. Why not make the simple effort to practice proper technology use? It is a win-win. The benefits are many and believe me — it won’t hurt!
in which we have contact with the world.
We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts:
what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.”
~ Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) American Educator
If you think about it, you never know who will see how you communicate online. It could be a new friend, a new partner — or someone that will offer you that new job you’ve been hoping for!