Ignoring Email and Other Communication

Message in a Bottle

You are stranded on a desert island the year is 1978, you are alone and through the wreckage you find something to write with; a piece of paper and a bottle.   You write a message “Help.. Stranded last known coordinates were 9.6228° N, 99.6750° E.”   You place the message in a bottle, plug up the top and send it out hoping some one will find it and you!

I have a basic sense that if you did this during that time, that someone would hopefully find the message and further find someone to help.

2014… same issue, same message..  it seems that most people would take the bottle, put a picture of it on social media and try to sell the authentic “message in a bottle” on an electronic auction site after getting 10 million “likes” and comments.   I actually wouldn’t have even imagined something like that 20 years ago.  The sad part is that you would remain stranded, in theory.

If this is how we are acting today, what will we become?


Turn On Your Comms and Get Disconnected

  • I don’t want to know what is going on the world but I watch and read the news.
  • I don’t want to hear about another persons problems but I am on Facebook, Google+, Instagram…
  • I don’t want to get emails from people I don’t know but “If you need to get a hold of me, here is my email”
  • I don’t want to be known or have random people contact me but I write blogs, author books, articles for small trade magazines and position myself for high visibility on social media.
  • I don’t want to be connected but I have a laptop, mobile phone, tablet etc.
  • I want everyone to accept me and know me and understand me and I am very important and unless you are compensating me or of some value to me, please let me alone.

This is true.. Here is a quote from a person who shall remain anonymous..

“The key with me is someone who shows respect for my time. As a consultant, my product is my time and intellectual capital. You are asking me for a free product sample. Consider it the same as walking into a store and asking for something free off the shelf worth a lot more than a cup of coffee or a lunch. Don’t make me waste two hours when you factor in the driving time, chit chat, and getting to the point. Be clear exactly what you need so we can get down to it. Accept that a phone call will get you the information or connections you need. My business model requires efficiency. I can’t “make” more product (time).” –Anonymous Important Business Professional.


10 Generations Chart

I think that people are important and that there is a balance with being realistic about how important a person is relative to everyone else in the world.   I would ask you to consider without looking anything up to think about and remember your Great Great Great Grandmother, who was she?  Do you even know her name?  Now thinking about the future, who are you?   We are here for a short period of time and we are small in the universe.  What we do for each other and how we treat each other is important today, right now.    If you don’t have time to respond to someone and you are that important and valuable, something is wrong.

Professional Business Etiquette for Email (Old Rules)

Never send anything you would not want to see
in tomorrow’s newspaper. There are no security
guarantees with electronic mail. Avoid sending
ANY confidential or sensitive information via
email. Remember, it’s very easy for someone
else to forward messages you thought were

• When you are upset or angry, learn how to use the postpone command.
Review the message after you have had time to calm down.

• Do not send abusive, harassing, or threatening messages.

• Be cautious when using sarcasm and humor. Without facial expressions
and tone of voice, they do not translate easily through email.

• Keep messages and replies brief.

• Use email in a professional manner. Remember, you cannot control
where your message might be sent.

• Do not send chain letters through email. This includes any message that
contains a request to forward the information to lots of other people.

• Don’t leave your email account open when you leave your computer.
Anyone could sit down at your keyboard and send out any
libelous/offensive/embarrassing message under your name.

• Don’t send replies to “all recipients” unless there is a very specific need for
everyone to receive the message. It wastes disk space, clutters up
inboxes and can be annoying.

• When replying, keep messages brief and to the point. Don’t reproduce a
message in its entirety. Be selective with what you reproduce and only do
it as needed.

• Remember that all laws governing copyrights, defamation, discrimination
and other forms of written communication also apply to email.


These were some “rules” for email.  I gather that most of us don’t take communication etiquette class.   It was the first class for me while starting my MBA program.  Unfortunately, the rules from Letita Baldrige do NOT apply anymore.

 Email Etiquette Rules (Dated 10/2013)

Career coach Barbara Pachter outlines modern email etiquette rules in her latest book “The Essentials Of Business Etiquette.” We pulled out the most important ones you need to know:

1. Include a clear, direct subject line.

Examples of a good subject line include “Meeting date changed,” “Quick question about your presentation,” or “Suggestions for the proposal.”

“People often decide whether to open an email based on the subject line,” says Pachter. “Choose one that lets readers know you are addressing their concerns or business issues.”

2. Use a professional email address.

If you work for a company, you should use your company email address. But if you use a personal email account — whether you are self-employed or just like using it occasionally for work-related correspondences — you should be careful when choosing that address, says Pachter.

You should always have an email address that conveys your name so that the recipient knows exactly who’s sending the email. Never use email addresses (perhaps remnants of your grade-school days) that are not appropriate for use in the workplace, such as “diva@…” or “babygirl@…”

3. Think twice before hitting “reply all.”

No one wants to read emails from 20 people when it has nothing to do with them. They could just ignore the emails, but many people get notifications of new messages on their smartphones or distracting pop-up messages on their computer screens. Refrain from hitting “reply all” unless you really think everyone on the list needs to receive the email, says Pachter.

4. Use exclamation points sparingly.

If you choose to use an exclamation point, use only one to convey excitement, says Pachter.

“People sometimes get carried away and put a number of exclamation points at the end of their sentences. The result can appear too emotional or immature,” she writes. “Exclamation points should be used sparingly in writing.” 

5. Be cautious with humor.

Humor can easily get lost in translation without the right tone or facial expressions. In a professional exchange, it’s better to leave humor out of emails unless you know the recipient well. Also, something that you think is funny might not be funny to someone else.

Pachter says: “Something perceived as funny when spoken may come across very differently when written. When in doubt, leave it out.”

6. Know that people from different cultures speak and write differently.

Miscommunication can easily occur due to cultural differences, especially in the writing form when we can’t see each other’s body language. Tailor your message depending on the receiver’s cultural background or how well you know them.

A good rule to keep in mind, says Pachter, is that high-context cultures (Japanese, Arab, or Chinese) want to get to know you before doing business with you. Therefore, it may be common for business associates from these countries to be more personal in their writings. On the other hand, people from low-context cultures (German, American, or Scandinavian) prefer to get to the point very quickly.

7. Reply to your emails — even if the email wasn’t intended for you.

It’s difficult to reply to every email message ever sent to you, but you should try to, says Pachter. This includes when the email was accidentally sent to you, especially if the sender is expecting a reply. A reply isn’t necessary, but serves as good email etiquette, especially if this person works in the same company or industry as you.

Here’s an example reply: “I know you’re very busy, but I don’t think you meant to send this email to me. And I wanted to let you know so you can send it to the correct person.”

Aside from these email tips, always make sure to proof your messages so that there aren’t any jarring mistakes that make you seem unprofessional. Pachter advises to always add the email address last so that the email doesn’t accidentally send before you’re ready.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/email-etiquette-rules-barbara-pachter-2013-10#ixzz324v9wGP4


You Never Know

Our communication is changing very quickly.  In a lot of ways we are moving in the wrong direction.   Text messages are now part of normal business communication and they leave gaping holes in context and frequency.   Email which was by all means supposed to go away, is still here.   In business, email is still for a lot of people their primary tool of communication.    Of course it is reasonable to be considerate and respectful for a person’s time.   At the same time if you get a message from a stranger and it is not a mass communication, create a simple response.  If you don’t have time, then don’t do it.   I know a business leader who runs a multibillion dollar organization, works on a foundation former and current presidents,  has hundreds of emails a day and he finds the time to respond.    It is not only possible, it is reasonable.   If  you don’t respond to a person who has directly messaged you, there is a clear message to them.   In my short life, I have found that we are connected in ways that we can’t easily estimate and understand.    If you diminish a person by not even acknowledging their existence, it can and in some cases will come around in the future.



If you have a question or comment feel free to email me