Paul Castain's Blog

Emailing . . . No Need For Speed!

Posted January 10, 2012

This guy I know (Butch) emails me last week saying some really cool things. So I do what any gracious aspiring sales rock star would do . . . I emailed him with . .

“Thanks Bitch!”

Actually . . . That’s what I almost did until I paused and gave my reply a quick once over.

Imagine that! Butch does something cool for me and I thank the guy by calling him a Bitch . . . guys typically don’t respond well to that!

Before you dismiss me as rude or disrespectful, I need to tell you that your argument isn’t with me . . . it’s with my fingers or maybe even the genius who decided to put the i and the u right next to each other on the keyboard.

Luckily I caught this but I think its representative of a bigger issue . . .

In our need for speed with our emails, the following can happen

1)   We don’t really read the email and fire off a reply. Like when someone responds to an email with a question. Meanwhile the answer was like 2 sentences down on the original email. It’s like “Thank you for making me do double work because you can’t scroll two sentences” Jackass!

2)   Auto Correct Agony: The auto correct function on my i-phone is possessed and makes word choices for me that are the equivalent of “talking in tongues” . . . at the very least it makes me appear to be a drunk. Now if I could only teach auto correct to de slur my speech when I actually am drunk then I’d just call it even. Do they have an app for that?

3)   Thoughtless “Reply All” Abuses! When I’m rich, I’m going to build a special “Reply All” Rehab clinic. This will be for people who feel the need to terrorize my inbox with unnecessary replies that didn’t require replying to all. I’m hoping this is a result of a quick reply but it might be some kind of genetic disorder. There’s another side to the “Reply All” and its when you think you’re responding to your homie and meanwhile you just let the whole distribution list know that Franklin in accounting has been acting like quite the dick lately.

4)   Homophone Homicide! This is when you’re so busy firing out a response you confuse words like their, they’re and there, your and you’re and even the rare grammatical exception of “Y’all” and “You’s Guys”. Note: When I was in college,  my teacher asked me what I knew about homophones. I replied “Not much. I’m straight and not even the least bit bilingual!”

But seriously . . .

The cure is simple . . . Take a moment to think about what you are about to send!

Your turn . . . What else can happen when we rush our email communication?

Hope you will join us today for the“Playbook For A Successful Year” webinar. If by chance the day and time won’t work with your schedule, we’ll be recording the event. Here’s the link with all the details! http://www.instantpresenter.com/PIID=EA52DD82834F

Paul Castain trains organizations and coaches individuals to reach new levels of rock stardom. For a downloadable PDF of “10 Ways I Rock With My Clients”click here.

  • Daniel Milstein

    That is true, Paul. As an author and business man, I can relate to how you said, ”
    Butch does something cool for me and I thank the guy by calling him a Bitch “. I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about.  Can’t wait to read more from you!

  • Debbie

    Thanks Paul,
    Are there recommendations for how many sentences or questions should be in an email.  I’ve asked two questions before and gotten back a “yes” response.  Please go for the “reply to all project.”  I try to reply to only those that need to know.

    Lastly, I went away from “Hello” after getting caught forgetting the “o.”

    Best wishes for the new year and thank you for the inspiring words.
    Debbie

    • Hell Debbie, I mean Hello Debbie 🙂

      As someone who was guilty of lengthy emails, I would say keep it at a few sentences. Perhaps enough to be read in the window of a smart phone without having to scroll. Perhaps 1 or 2 questions. No more.

      I’m actually hesitant in the 2 question thing and would be more comfortable with 1.

      What are your thoughts about that?

  • Lee

    Paul,
    I think one of the worse things that can happen is an incomplete sentence. Leaving out just one small word can cause the whole point to not make any sense whatsoever. Or sometimes it  just makes you look too busy to care.

    Lee

    • Hanging my head because I’ve done that one 🙁

      I’m glad you brought that up Lee!

      Thanks!

  • Jon Kenney

    Paul:
    Thank you for the topic!  I believe that we can all afford to slow down enough to proofread our work.  I agree with you regarding multiple questions.  Generally I will receive back an answer to only one unless I announce that there are multiple questions and format the email to that it is immediately clear that multiple answers are required.
    Jon Kenney

    • Thanks Jon … I agree with you that we need to set it up so they understand there are multiple questions.

  • Techgirlpdx

    You’ve captured my frustrations here perfectly and with your fabulous Paul-ness, made the whole situation hilariously relevant. Bless you! Happy 2012 to the Castains.

  • Jkucczeski

    Excellent points Paul(as always).  I began to proofread many of my responses years ago, as I felt my comments became jibberish in context and were long and drawn out.  Another point I would like to add, is put yourself in the persons shoe’s who is receiving the reply.  Respond in a well thought out manner so the message is fully understood and well received!  

    Make it a great 2012!!

    Thanks!!

    • Fantastic suggestion . . . Thank you!

      Happy New Year to you too!

  • Thanks for the mini laugh, Paul. I don’t often mix my ‘U’ and ‘I’ keys but I am forever telling people ‘Thankd’ (or worse ‘Tahkns’); fortunately I am a little OCD on my proofreading because I know that my fingertips are larger than the keys…..

    #1 and #4 are my biggest pet peeves in all communications. I can’t even count high enough to tell you the number of times over the years I’ve gotten a reply to an email that made me ask aloud “Seriously? Did you even READ my email before you replied?”

    • I’ve done that one mucho times Jeff. Great example.

      Thanks!

  • Ah, one of my most favorite subjects – proofreading! Now, I realize that email is a fast-moving communication tool but it’s amazing what you can see if you just STOP and re-read your email before hitting “SEND”… things like spelling errors, and homophone homicide but I think it’s also important to re-read and check for tone as well. A big downside of this type of communication is that it’s difficult to convey tone of voice/mood and this can lead to a lot of misunderstandings that could’ve perhaps been avoided. So re-read your copy for wording/phrases in addition to the more typographical/grammatic errors.

    Can’t tell you how many times I find a sentence or 2 that I tweak just a little in the hopes of clearly conveying, not only my message, but the tone in which I would like it read/received.

    TRUE STORY (and it WASN’T done by me!):  The best typo of all time for me wasn’t done in email – but on a typewriter (recognizing many of the younger set are unfamiliar with this prehistoric equipment)… anyway…

    The sentence?

    On behalf of the Department of Public Works

    What was actually typed?

    On behalf of the Department of Pubic Worms

    Beat that! LOL 😀

    Thanks as always for delivering a blog post that informs as well as entertains! I look forward to your entries every day!

    Virtually Yours,
    Anne-Marie

    • Great point about “tone” Boy that’s a huge one Anne-Marie!

      The “Public Worms” example was priceless by the way!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Adam

    Luckily I have a policy of trying not to write anything I wouldn’t let anyone else read. However I have on multiple occasions (sad to say) received a complaint from a customer and with In my great emailing abilities I have mistakenly hit the reply button instead of forward. So not only does the customer get an unnecessary response before the situation has been resolved, I have addressed them by the wrong name.

    To make matters worse if I do not catch my folly customer service hasn’t actually unaware of the concern and therefore not at the task of resolving the issue.

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