Common faux pas


Shocked woman holding banner isolated on white

We sometimes forget that when doing business emails, we need to remember that we cannot be casual and sloppy about it.  We need to be professional about it.  And there are some things we need to remember when sending emails (or any other correspondence for that matter). Let’s see what I mean.

Please and thank you

“May you kindly please arrange for the boardroom to be booked” or “May you please book a boardroom for me” – what is that?  That is the kind of email I used to receive from a PA to the CEO in a company I worked at.  A simple “Please arrange a boardroom to be booked for me”  or “Will you please book a boardroom for me?” would have been perfect.  It is polite, short and sweet – no frills, no fuss.  And anyway, how can you “kindly please” do anything?  When asked to do something, you can only get one or two answers – Yes or No. No need to butter up your request that almost comes across as pleading.

Now for a totally different situation – I was asked this week if I got offended when I received an email simply stating the task and in point form what needs to be done?  She was feeling bad that she didn’t ask or put it across nicely.  And I think she is reading this right now and smiling.  First of all, I work with her – we have a great working relationship and I have offered to assist where necessary.  I don’t need to be asked nicely every time.  We are both busy and have a lot on our plates.  Just make sure your subject line indicates what your message is about – makes it a lot easier to determine whether urgent or not.  And I understand where she is coming from – albeit far across the ocean.

What is my name?

Then of course another bad habit some people have is getting your name wrong.  Oh wow – and this happens time and time again.  First of all your email should have a signature, which should include your name, surname, contact number and company name.  An email address should be self-explanatory since you have just received it.  When people answer your email, do they address you and spell your name correctly?  Hmm …. I have people getting it wrong over and over and over again.  And I make no bones about correcting them either.

First of all, you have just received the mail with the person’s name in the signature – how can you possibly get it wrong?  Besides me don’t you get upset when people get your name wrong?  I mean, just take the time before writing the mail or sending it off, and make sure you have got their name right.  That is something very personal and it makes me wonder how important I really am if you can’t get my name right.  Especially, when my name is Michele and not Michelle.  Definitely make a point of checking because some names are not the norm.  The same goes for sending texts or Whatsapp messages – again last night I noticed after I posted my previous blog, someone thanked me but spelt my name wrong. Why?  Please make sure you get the name right.

Your idea or mine

Many people are posting quotes and interesting things on line, on social media and some have even created their own format – beautiful, chic, professional formats.  Now it is one thing to copy (which I am sure is fine to a point), but sometimes it is just courtesy to check with that individual if you can copy their idea.  First of all it is a compliment to like and admire someone’s idea and want to use it, but it is also just courtesy to check with them.  I know, some don’t mind especially if they are a good friend of yours, but I still ask.  And yes, another friend of mine is reading this right now and also smiling because it happened this week too.

Research and references

Ah yes – the last one I want to touch on.  Many people are writing articles and blogs and often referring to other websites and articles for their information.  Be careful if you are using their words, literally word for word.  Remember you are not the only one reading these articles and researching.  So be careful, because others will pick it up.  Make sure you reference or give reference to the person/s whose article you have taken information from.  If you are caught out, it could ruin your reputation as a writer or blogger going forward.

Michele Thwaits May 2016




Where we find ourselves today is due to the choices we made.  Our choices determine or future, not what happened in the past, not by blaming others for where we are and what we couldn’t achieve.  Our choices are our own doing.

Some time back Julie Perrine shared her acronym of the word CHOICE – I’d like to share my version.


Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to do what we feel we ought to, go in the direction we think is right and have no idea what the outcome is going to be.  It is not easy.  We have fears and doubts on the choices we make, but we need to push through, carry on moving forward, don’t lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel, onward bound towards your goal.  Whatever comes your way to make you stumble, get up and keep moving on.  If you need to ask for help along the way, it takes courage to admit that you need help in the first place, but it doesn’t mean you are any less the wiser.  A good support is always recommended.

Some choices are easier to make than others.  It is a definite, gut-feel, know-for sure decision you make.  The path is not always rosy or clear or smooth sailing, because you have set your mind to it and you stick to your guns.


You need to be honest with yourself and your choice.  Don’t set targets that are out of reach or a very long stretch.  You know your limits.  You know in what timeframe you are able to achieve what you set your mind to do.  Yes, a goal should be a bit of a stretch otherwise it is too easy. Be honest with the people you are working with, who you are going to work with and who support you.


You need to believe in yourself and what you are capable of.  You need to believe that you are good at what you do and that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.  Always see the green light instead of the red one.  The glass is only half full, not half empty.  Take the “T” off can’t and you can.  Tell yourself “Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE, because I AM POSSIBLE”.  Self-talk, belief and support all add to your optimistic view of your future.


This is a very important attribute to have when making your choices.  People need to believe you, trust you and support you.  They won’t do that if you are not what you seem.  Don’t try and cover up or paint a pretty picture to make yourself look good.  People will see right through you.  Hold you head up high, remember your beliefs and values you grew up with, those will play an important role in your future and that of the people you associate with. Accept responsibility and accountability when it is needed.


Go out confidently, walk straight and tall, smile, hold your head up and walk with confidence.  Don’t hesitate or procrastinate – you believe you can do it, others believe in you so take that first step – confidently.  If you lack confidence, who is going to believe you or believe in you?  Show them who you are and what you are made of.


Whatever you do, do it with excellence.  Do it at your absolute best – not someone else’s best, your best.  After all you know how far you can push yourself.  And no matter what the situation, no matter how toxic your relationship or workspace is, you continue doing and going at whatever you  have set your mind to and make sure you continue doing what you love to do at your best.


That is the road you have started travelling on, and that is the road you continue with influencing others along the way, impressing and inspiring people and helping people to grow and empower themselves.  That is true success, not just you.  Make sure the legacy you leave behind is one where people who have grown and made it by themselves, have done so because you took the time to help them and encourage them – no matter how small or insignificant it may seem – it only takes one.

So the CHOICES you make will show your COURAGE, you will be HONEST with yourself and others and go forward with an OPTIMISTIC point of view.  Your INTEGRITY will draw people to you and your will begin to grow more CONFIDENT within yourself because you will be doing everything to a standard of EXCELLENCE and your will reap the rewards of SUCCESS on your journey.

I encourage you to make the right CHOICES – it is worth it.

Michele Thwaits May 2016