How to Restore Common Decency in Everyday Communications
Is it really too late to restore common decency in everyday electronic communications? More specifically, is it really so hard to say good morning in an e-mail before requesting something of someone?
I lamented once before on trying to understand why we stopped being so nice to one another. Today, I try to understand why it is when we e-mail each other in both personal and business communications, we feel as if we have a license to be more curt than we would if we were with someone face-to-face.
For instance, in business settings, when emailing somebody first thing in the morning, especially after a weekend, is it too much to ask to start an e-mail out with “good morning”? Is it too much to ask someone to add a few more characters to the front of your email and say, “how was your weekend”?
I honestly don’t think so. In fact, to write “good morning”, those two little words, equal 12 characters. Adding a “I hope you had a nice weekend” is only 30 characters. That’s 42 extra characters all together (If you’re a fan of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you know that 42 is the meaning of life!). Continue along with your message and I promise you that whomever you are emailing, the person on the other end will be delighted that you cared enough to say good morning.
Here’s a sample of something that I just absolutely despise, ready? This is the entire e-mail:
“Don’t forget to send me your numbers as soon as possible.”
Have we lost all decency in communication? It is one thing to be brief in an email, to treat email like Twitter and write 140 characters or less, but in business, wouldn’t it be nice if somebody just said “good morning” first? I don’t think it matters whether you are the CEO, a director, a VP, a manager, a colleague, or even a client.