Are you an e-mail boor?

How can employees improve their corporate etiquette? Email is a good place to start.  


From The

The very basis of etiquette, according to Miss Manners, is the concept of empathy, or, as your grade school teacher told you, ‘consideration.’ The idea is simple: would someone appreciate the thing you’re about to do? It’s all about the Golden Rule.

Email allows us to be digitally inconsiderate all day long. Not only are most of us offenders, we have become inured to accepting it from others.  So, before you hit the ‘SEND’ button, pause and think if you are informing or inflicting. Ask yourself “is there another way to do this?”

In the example above, an inconsiderate person didn’t bother to file something she found useful, so she sent a co-worker off to find it for her. Thanks for wasting someone else’s time! But if the second worker had bookmarked  the link first with a enterprise social media platform like Lotus Connections, the second person could merely reply, “Oh, I bookmarked that for you, just look in Connections!” while batting their eyes.

Social enterprise tools are a great way to elevate good manners in your company and return some of your precious time back to you. Are you frequently asked the same question many times? Do you slavishly re-type the same answer in e-mail? How about posting that Frequently Asked Question (yes, we all have personal FAQs) in the corporate wiki? When the request again comes you way, just direct them to the wiki with some helpful search hints. Eventually, most of them will learn.

A friend has a special remedy for rude coworkers who keep asking him to look things up on the Internet for them. He toys with them by sending them HERE. Miss Manners would not approve of this approach, I am certain, but it’s the Internet Way.

This month the Oatmeal site posted “If you do this in email, I hate you.” It went viral within a day. When it got to me, I was gasping with laughter. My favorite was the lengthy signature with the “we communitize engagement” slogan.

There are so many ways coworkers can be inconsiderate with email and voice mail. Care to share any examples? How do you deal with it? 


One comment

  1. I absolutely hate when people choose a communication medium that is inappropriate for their message.

    If your voicemail will be over a minute, email me instead.

    If your email will be over a page printed, let’s meet beforehand to get our heads around it.

    For being such a simple thing, a lot of folks sure do seem to need some remedial business/Internet etiquette lessons.

    Josh Braaten
    Engagement Communitizer

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