Is there a difference between men and women when it comes to using email to communicate? An email came in from a site visitor asking:
Why is it that men seem more curt and direct in emails? Is that a “man thing”?
This is not the first time I’ve been asked about email style and the sexes. As a matter of fact it does pop-up on a pretty regular basis.
A Question from the Past
A while ago, I was on Fox News discussing Email Etiquette. If I said when, I would most certainly date myself.
One of the questions I was asked to comment on was about the differences between men and women when it came to email. The question posed to me was in regard to “a new book that was out” that stated that men were more cryptic while women preferred pleasantries in email.
The book they were asking me to comment on was never identified, but I found that to be an odd question. Men and women communicate differently off-line; in all modes of communication.
This unnamed book seemed to make mention of this so that we could understand the communication nuances in email habits between genders. Isn’t this something men and women have been trying to figure out since the beginning of time? “Communications nuances.”
Email is no different.
Even though we are living in a time where we have this urge to identify everything with a label or by gender, Email Etiquette is not gender specific. Not once have I ever thought of the intent or tone in an email to be different based on the gender of the sender.
I take the sender at their word. I look at the words they choose to use, how they use them and how they type them.
Is one sex more apt to not make the appropriate efforts? Is one sex more misunderstood due to lack of email skills than the other? Not in my experience.
Communication Styles Do Differ
Everyone has their own unique style. Some more so than others in how they choose to communicate. And that’s okay.
Regardless of the “whys” when it comes to how men and women communicate, in email, the basics of email etiquette apply. If you are cryptic it is because you are not clear communicator — or worse, rude. If you prefer pleasantries, that is a style choice.
Are email courtesies gender specific? Proper sentence structure, greetings and a courteous closing are staples. Regardless of gender.
The basic use of your spell checker has nothing to do with whether you are male or female. Email Etiquette applies and doesn’t change if you are wearing a dress or a tie.
In my experience…
I’ve been emailing longer than most — over a quarter of a century to be precise. In all these years I’ve worked with men who communicate succinctly and with great thought. Epitome of email etiquette with a dash of personality too.
In some cases, more so than some of the women I communicate with. So my personal experience over decades of emails blows the implied gender difference right out of the water.
Yes, some onliners may believe that their gender allows them to communicate differently based on gender alone. But that is a misconception really. This is a choice someone makes to justify not communicating as an educated courteous adult.
It would behoove all emailers, regardless of gender to ensure their email etiquette skills are honed. How you communicate with the written word will have implications that are more far reaching that you can imagine.
Taking the time to communicate with clarity and courtesy is a skill each and every one of us must continue to work on. Particularly with more folks working remotely from home than ever. These skills will be crucial to your workflow.
Never underestimate the power of email in your professional email communications and how that will enhance your career. If everything is equal, the clear and courteous communicator will rule the day.
In closing, email etiquette applies to all users and is not gender specific. Hone your skills so you can use it as the valuable communication tool that it is.