Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Don’t include the uninvited (a rant)


A pet peeve of mine is when I email someone and, when they reply, they add a new recipient or few into the conversation.

Please don’t do this. It’s unprofessional and a tacky breach of email etiquette.

Here are a three reasons why:
  1. It wastes time. Not everyone needs to be included in every email about a topic, especially if it’s an initial communication. This is true even if later -- after all issues are clear and resolved, after all the facts are found -- others may need to be informed. Then they can be added -- by the originator. In the meantime, why bother them? It merely annoys busy people as well as clutters and confuses the conversation.
     
  2. It implies misdoing. Whether you intend it or not, to suddenly include a new recipient or two can imply to the originator of the conversation that you think they’re trying to get away with something. That they’re trying to go around someone. Or, it can imply shady doings to those added in making them wonder what’s up when nothing is amiss. It wrongly introduces mistrust and falsely casts aspersion.
     
  3. It can complicate the simple. An email may need only a simple response. The originator has carefully chosen the recipients and asked for what he/she needs to know. No more, no less. Adding in new recipients will almost always generate additional emails asking for clarifications, expressing confusion, injecting unwanted input, causing emotional distress, and on and on. What was easy-peasy becomes a muddled mess.
So, what to do?

The general rule of thumb is to only reply to the person sending the email -- the originator. Or, if it’s a group conversation (as determined by the originator), reply all only to the original recipients.

“But,” you object, “what if I feel really strongly about including someone new?”

Then call or email the original sender, tell them who you want to add and why, and ask them if they mind the addition.

What you probably will discover is that the originator intends to include the person or persons you have in mind at a later date. Often after details are worked out and settled. But only if the initial conversation yields a positive response that leads to further action. If not, then there’s no reason for bugging others (see #1 above).

One more caution: There may be very sensitive and confidential reasons for not including someone in a conversation. These are things you’re not privy to and are none of your business. Adding uninvited others into an email can be a serious ruffling of the proverbial feathers creating chaos, havoc, and serious personal and professional damage. This is never good.

If there really is a reason to add someone in, let the originator of the original email do so. They started the conversation, so, with respect, allow them to manage it. Don’t usurp their conversation.

Adding someone into an email conversation you didn’t initiate isn’t your call. Period.

And don’t even get me started on BCCs! Oy vey!



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Okay, I know this isn’t a “spiritual” topic but I do think respectful and clear communications is an important tact for Christians. Feel free to offer a scripture that supports this. Do you agree with my post? Can you think of exceptions to this rule? What are they? Have you experienced someone adding in new recipients when replying to an email? How did you deal with it? Did it ever create unnecessary conflict or other issues? Please sound off in the comments!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Email me. Okay, I’ll text you. (a rant)


Not everyone likes to communicate the same way. Some people prefer email while others want to meet face-to-face and others like to text.

How can you tell a person’s preference? Simple. Pay attention to how they initiate contact.

Did they call? Email? Text? Come knock on your door? Send a Hallmark card?

There’s your clue.

I hate it when I send someone an email and ask for a response and they text me.

It’s like sending a message to someone to arrange a time for a call because right now you’re busy, and they call -- right now.

Please don’t do this to people!

If someone emails you, respond via email. If someone calls you, call them back. If someone texts you, text them back.

See how that works? It’s an apples-to-apples kind of thing. Yes, there is an exception and I’ll get to that in a bit.

While this practice is important to be aware of generally speaking, it’s crucial if you are a service provider. You know, like a plumber or freelancer or any kind of independent contractor.

Why is it so important?

Because you can annoy your customers away if you contact them (or insist they contact you) via a mode they don’t like. Especially if it’s a technology they aren’t proficient in or comfortable with.

I’m not a huge fan of texting, especially when complexity is involved. (And I generally loath Facebook Messenger!)

I prefer email, or, if that fails, perhaps a phone call. Or more email. Or, perhaps face-to-face. But probably still more email.

If you are a service provider and you insist on communicating only via text telling me that it works best for you, then I’ll probably look for a new service provider. Why? Because it doesn’t work best for me -- the purchaser of your service.

I know texting is popular, especially for the young ‘uns. But don’t force your customers to communicate outside of their comfort zones.

You want your customers happy and anxiety free. You want them to like being in touch with you.

So, what to do? Let’s review!
  • If someone emails you, respond via email.
  • If someone calls you, call them back.
  • If someone texts you, text them back.
  • And so forth. Except...
There is an exception to this rule. If someone texts you and says please respond using email or with a call, then do as they direct. That should be pretty clear. Otherwise, if no such specification is made, reply using the same mode they used to contact you.

Isn’t that just so simple?

Now, if we could only fix politics. Oh well. Baby steps to a better world!


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Okay, I know this isn’t a “spiritual” topic but I do think respectful and clear communications is an important tact for Christians. Feel free to offer a scripture that supports this. Do you agree with my post? Have you experienced someone insisting on communicating with you in a mode you don’t care for? How did you deal with it? Please sound off in the comments!

Monday, November 27, 2017

That wasn’t the question (a rant)


A common and very annoying ploy of shady politicians is to dodge questions. It’s annoying. It’s dishonest. It’s just not very polite.

The same is true when people are making inquiry by email or text and the response is lacking.

For example, Jack emails Jill: “Will you be able to make the meeting today at 9:30 a.m.?” To which Jill responds: “I’ve completed the report on pails for Feldon.”

At this point Jack commences pulling out his hair or banging his head on his desk.

This kind of craziness happens all the time in other milieus. Here’s another example from a non-business setting.

Elaine texts George: “I’m tied up right now. When would be a good time for me to call you about Jer’s party?” To which George responds: “No problem! I’ll call you right now!”

Elaine makes a mental note to unfriend George.

By not paying attention or just being sloppy and not answering the question(s) asked, complexity and craziness ensue. Especially if in subsequent communications questions continue to be dodged.

Please, people! Stop doing this!

When receiving an email or text message, read it. Seriously. Take a few seconds and actually read it.

To understand how to respond, look for clues such as a question mark (this thing > ?). When you see a question mark (?) it means you’ve been asked a question the sender needs you to answer.

So, how do you reply? Answer the question(s)! Plain and simple. Just answer the question(s) you have been asked.

Let’s look at our two examples above and fix them.
  • Fixed Example 1: Jack emails Jill: “Will you be able to make the meeting today at 9:30 a.m.?” To which Jill responds: “Yes, I’ll be there on time. By the way, I’ve completed the report on pails for Feldon and will bring a copy for you to review.”
     
  • Fixed Example 2: Elaine texts George: “I’m tied up right now. When would be a good time for me to call you about Jer’s party?” To which George responds: “No problem! I’m free later today at 3 p.m., or any time tomorrow. Let me know what time works for you.”
See how simple this is?

It’s even okay to add a little additional information as long as you first fully answer the question(s) you were asked. Easy as pie. Well, actually much easier.

Don’t be like a shady politician tying to pull the wool over the world’s eyes. Be smart, courteous, and give a straight, complete answer to the question(s) you’re asked in emails and texts.

Trust me. Life will be so much better for everyone. The time saved and aggravation avoided, you have no idea!



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Okay, I know this isn’t a “spiritual” topic but I do think respectful and clear communications is an important tact for Christians. Feel free to offer a scripture that supports this. Do you agree with my post? Have you experienced asking someone a question via email or text and they didn’t answer it? Or, you asked 2 or 3 questions and they answered only one? How did you deal with it? Please sound off in the comments!