E-mail has become the medium of choice for many business communications. It’s easy, it’s fast, and people can read their e-mails (or not) when they have the time. We all know the advantages of e-mail. It helps us communicate with people who are sitting nearby or anywhere in the world.
But, just because e-mail is easy and fast DOES NOT mean that it is the most effective communication medium; do you recognise any of the following types of e-mailer that are ruining our inboxes ... do you recognise yourself in the list?
The Shouty One
Every e-mail they send will end with exclamation marks or will be in full caps. They fail to realise this is the digital equivalent to shouting in the recipient’s face.
You: Hello Paul, have you had a chance to look at the reports I sent to you?
The Shouty One: NO!!!! I WILL CHECK THIS AFTERNOON!!!
You: Wow! Okay. Thanks?
The Shouty One: NO PROBLEM PAL!!! :)
The Vague One
They are sent an e-mail with five questions and then reply with eight answers, sadly still not addressing the questions they were asked so the recipient remains unenlightened.
You: Hello Mel, have you had a chance to look at the reports I sent to you?
The Vague One: Actually, I’ve been thinking about the reports. It’s very convenient to have them sent to me in this format. Thank you for helping us out by compiling them.
You: No problem. So, have you looked at them?
The Vague One: As discussed at the meeting on Wednesday, I wanted to circle back to your idea about the format of the report. Should we consider starting this from next month or is this something you want to implement straight away?
The Invisible One
This worker receives fifty e-mails a day and never seems to reply to any of them. They also tend to have cryptic email addresses that bear no resemblance to their name or their job, making them almost impossible to contact in the first place.
You: Hello Yousef, have you had a chance to look at the reports I sent to you?
The Invisible One: …
You: Hello? Anyone there?
The Invisible One: …
The Abrupt One
They are not necessarily rude, they are just in the habit of using as few words as possible. You might send them essays about your ideas and put an awful lot of time and effort to describing your deepest thoughts as coherently as possible but you still get: “Sounds good.”
You: Hello Rachel, have you had a chance to look at the reports I sent to you?
The Abrupt One: No.
You: Okay… could you?
The Abrupt One: Yes.
You: Um… thanks?
The Oversharing One
Sometimes just apologising for a late reply is enough, you don’t always need to share the details of how your haemorrhoids are acting up today and you’ve been stuck in the toilet.
You: Hello Guy, have you had a chance to look at the reports I sent to you?
The Oversharing One: Oh no gosh sorry I haven’t had the chance to – I had to take my dog to the vets and had to go home and get a change of clothes because he was sick on me, and while I was there my rash started acting up so…
You: Okay, no problem, that’s fine. Thank you.
The Oversharing One: Ah thank you let’s talk on Tuesday after I get my boils lanced-
You: OKAY! BYE!
E-mails should be concise and business like but many young professionals fail to understand the difference between email and texting and so think it’s acceptable to include text speak such as WUU2? (What are you up to?), BRB (Be Right Back) and FFS (We shall leave this one to your imagination). There’s no place for such acronyms in business emails.
You: Hello Lenny, have you had a chance to look at the reports I sent to you?
The Texter: U Wot? I h8 doin reps m80
The Texter: Dnt apologi3 bruv im afk so ttyl
You: ...I’m just going to do them myself.
The Formal One
When you receive an e-mail from them you may feel like you’ve just opened a letter from 1852. This ultra-polite e-mailer will address with “Dear Sir or Madam” and sign off with “Yours with the deepest respect.” You may feel like responding with “Nigel, I’ve known you for twelve years, you don’t have to email me like this.”
You: Hello Helena, have you had a chance to look at the reports I sent to you?
The Formal One: Thank for the reports you sent through on the 19th of May. I have scheduled an appointment to discuss them at your earliest convenience.
You: Great. How does Wednesday work for you?
The Formal One: I will need to consult my diary and office calendar and respond to you as soon as reasonably possible.
You: Awesome. Looking forward to it. Truly.
The Absent One
As soon as you hit send you get a response saying they are on holiday and will return last year. Yes, they still haven’t switched off their out of office from last summer. You can see them across the room but apparently, they’re not really there.
You: Hello Peter, have you had a chance to look at the reports I sent to you?
The Absent One: Thanks for your email – I’m on leave until January 2nd 2008. Merry Christmas!
These are the people who like to think they’re Ricky Gervais but sadly they are more like his The Office alter ego David Brent. Their emails usually contain a lame gag and some boasts about their life away from the office. They fail to realise that no one is remotely interested.
You: Hello Harrison, have you had a chance to look at the reports I sent to you?
The Comedian: I haven’t had a chance because me and the lads were out having a few cheeky beverages on Friday! Wa-hey!
You: Okay. Let’s make time on Wednesday to discuss.
The Comedian: I’m sure we can squeeze in a small one! Know what I mean? Nudge nudge wink wink!
The Profound One
These are the amateur philosophers with inspirational quotes downloaded from the internet. They like to think they bring wisdom to the workplace but the reality is most people find them incredibly tedious.
You: Hello Kelly, have you had a chance to look at the reports I sent to you?
The Profound One: As Steve Jobs once said, sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
You: So… that’s a no, then?
The Profound One: As Bill Gates said, Life is not fair; get used to it.