At the risk of offending some readers and others who hold the power to adversely affect my standard of living, it’s time to point out some e-mail writing practices that should be eliminated — or at least loudly ridiculed — at work.
First, is there anything lamer than business e-mails from anyone other than a Brit that close with “cheers”?
Unless it involves near-term alcohol consumption, all work-related e-mail messages should remain “cheers” free. Americans who finish their e-mail messages with “cheers” probably also say “ciao” instead of goodbye. They should be publicly mocked.
Next on the e-mail lame-list are people who write “tks” instead of “thanks” or “thank you.” There is little that says “I am trivial” like an e-mail with “tks” in it, although we should cut some slack to people responding on handhelds.
And while we’re on the topic of trivial, how about people who can’t be bothered to capitalize the beginnings of sentences and proper names in business-related e-mail? What, is hitting the shift key when they communicate too much work?
Certainly, some folks are better writers than others. But once someone has made it into the business world, we should be able to assume they have somewhat of a grasp on fifth-grade punctuation.
People who craft all-lowercase e-mails — again, with an exception for those using handhelds — don’t do it because they don’t know how to punctuate sentences. They do it because they think it’s conversationally casual. Actually, though, all-lowercase e-mails look like the colleague has turned into a little work elf, speaking in a tiny little work-elf voice.
And let’s not forget the people who hit “reply all” when responding to mass messages sent from the boss with some weenie version of “Way to go, boss” or “I agree completely, boss.” Message to those folks: If you want to kiss the boss’s rear end, fine. Just please don’t make the rest of us squirm by making us witness your butt-kissyness. Do it in private, please.
Similarly, people who “cc” the boss on e-mails to co-workers aiming to passively-aggressively threaten the co-worker into some sort of action are high on the lame list. The “cc” function should be used on a need-to-know basis only, not for implied threats that are more likely to cause the recipient to dig in his or her heels than they are to spur the desired action.
All that said, I’m sure I exhibit some form of extreme e-mail lameness that will be loudly and justifiably pointed out about five minutes after this column is published.
Magilla Marketing, Ken Magill’s weekly e-mail newsletter, is archived at http://directmag.com/magill/.