And one more thing
Still waiting for your e-mail
“Better late than never,” is a line of defense that individuals have exploited for decades. Hearing those words ruffle my feathers, however. They fall a hair short of the classic, “the dog ate my homework.”
There is a new theory that I believe has tipped the balance in the opposite direction. The expression is an old cliché. For better or worse, it has taken on new meaning in our technological world.
“No news is good news.”
My take is that people don’t reply electronically.
Naturally I had to check out what Emily Post said about answering correspondence. She’s always been my “go-to” reference in matters of social grace.
All I had to do was Google, and voilà, there was Post’s 10 ways for proper etiquette in e-mail correspondence. The topic turns out to be the first of many entries on the page concerning new 21st century behavior.
Several of Post’s comments are such common sense that I can’t imagine why she has to spell them out. Children learn the rules of basic etiquette, and later as adults recognize their potential value in maintaining interpersonal connections. The rub comes more than likely in putting the rules faithfully into practice. Laziness, you say?
Evidently not answering e-mails is tolerated in the work world. Will it become the norm — or has it already, and I am behind the eight ball?
I had to ask. Financial planners, teachers, coaches and real estate agents responded. More than one career person told me the honest truth. I walked away dumbfounded. It was what I suspected all along.
A salesman said that it used to be that he could never get a straight answer out of a client without committing to a lot of face-to-face time. It took skill and persistence.
Today, he claims that it is far worse. He gets no answers whatsoever from e-mailing. It’s the great elusive indecisiveness that bothers him the most. People don’t like to commit to any decision.
Another man replied that he never gets his manager to give his okay. He does a lot more on assumption than previously. He stresses that he is a self-directed employee, and that is a win-win for both. However, he said he nervously waits for the other shoe to fall from the corporation 24-hours a day.
Emily Post says to respond always, even if it is a brief note.
I’ll accept the one or two word e-mails from my colleagues. Short and sweet save a load of time. There’s no problem there. I figure that it is better to get a brief message than never hear back from someone. Besides, that falls into the category of general good manners.
Yes. Yes. Emily Post says that in professional e-mailing your image and reputation is at stake. She firmly recommends that you watch your spelling and grammar. In addition, you should look over what you write before you press, “send.” And save the “cutesy” comments for personal e-mailing. It has no place in the office.
Another thing that Post emphasizes is not mixing professional and personal into the same e-mail.
My boss doesn’t care that my beloved dog was put to sleep at the vet’s, and I am inconsolable. He reads my incoherent message saying that I will be several days late meeting a deadline.
Nor does my employer give a hoot that right now I am watching the waves roll in on Laguna Beach– only dreaming, and there is spotty Wi-Fi. He wants my full work attention, and that is fair enough. I’ll head back to surfing the Internet in the hotel lobby.
The terrific thing for those who operate out of a home office is that you can disregard office dress code. It doesn’t mean failing to keep on top of e-mail correspondence, even if you are clever enough to avoid Skyping in your “jammies” before 9 a.m.
There’s something else at stake that has to do with how one handles “messaging.” It all boils down to the age group you are communicating with — and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out either.
Granted all my brief interviews were with folks well entrenched in the workforce. There is something else in play for younger people that change the perspective a trifle.
My teenage neighbor tells me that texting is the way she makes plans with her friends and keeps track of her part-time waitress shift schedule. She never uses e-mailing anymore. If I want to hear from her, she politely informs me then I need to text. She resists answering her cell phone, too.
Rather than complain, I learn a colleague’s patterns quickly and accept how he communicates- might it be phone, texting, e-mailing.
Again, simply learning to maneuver around someone’s habits makes you less frustratable. I didn’t find anything from Post on that one.
On her website Emily Post stresses that business etiquette is a vital piece of the professional success puzzle. From job interviewing to hosting business meals, from making the phone call to landing the deal, etiquette, image and the ability to convey your “brand” are what make the lasting impression is all about.
There are far too many situations and types of personalities that you must manage to allow carelessness, rudeness, or whatever you want to label it, to interfere.
You can count on me. I will be answering your e-mail in a jiffy.