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

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