Are Your Emails Coming Up Short?

One would think that writers are the best at communicating in words and conveying their message via text.

I find that the opposite is true.

There’s really nothing wrong with saying, “That’s fine.” But the period after two short words conveys a short temper. It’s blunt. A slammed-out response leaves room for interpretation. The client can’t tell if you’re happy or upset.

Perhaps we’re tired of words. Perhaps we save all the good stuff for our clients and skimp elsewhere. Perhaps we get fed up of conveying emotion so we remove all sense of it in our communications. Maybe we just want to get to the point so we can get back to work.

Whatever the reason, I find that writers tend to write the most lackluster, emotionless, blunt emails I’ve ever seen. They’re short, but they sure aren’t sweet. In fact, most emails from writers tend to be pretty dry.

The Disadvantage of Cutting It Short

Writers who freelance need to be highly skilled in customer service. It’s not enough to be a great writer with perfect grammar and captivating copy; you need to cater to clients, make them feel good and keep them happy.

Falling into the habit of focusing your best text into your work means that you’re skimping on the customer service aspect. You risk an unhappy client. Even more, you risk losing that client.

Don’t forget: Competition for writers is stiff. It takes very little for a buyer to switch to someone else. Loyalty online isn’t known to be strong. Screw up – even just a little – and you can say sayonara to your clients.

“But I do a great job, James! And my clients are happy with my work.” Alright, sure. Yes. They may be. But if you aren’t very good at communicating a happy, pleasant tone and your emails leave the client wondering if you’re angry, annoyed or irritated, all the great jobs in the world don’t matter.

The Disadvantage of Going On for Too Long

The opposite of cutting it short is writing a lovely, long, rambling email infused with thoughts, insight and positive tones. That’s very nice, and emails like that can help create a personal bond with your client.

You become friends. You like working with each other. You end up knowing plenty of good stuff about one another. That makes for a nice working relationship.

Then the lines start to blur. The boundaries between professional relationship and friendship start to waver. You may feel hard pressed to say no to a friend or may feel like you should give a little extra. Not good, that.

Too, those long-winded friendly emails take time to write. You may write very quickly, but every minute counts when your time is worth money. It also takes time to decipher the four sentences that are work-related from the four paragraphs about the weather, kids or what you did last weekend.

The Middle Ground

Find the right balance that gives you both short and sweet. Make sure that your fast communication doesn’t leave the other person sitting there nurturing puzzled thoughts over what your mood is.

Be direct, yes, but also be friendly and make sure there’s no room for misunderstanding. Add a quick emoticon, much as you may hate them, or add some punctuation like an exclamation mark to convey feelings.

Capture a little bit of your mood and put that in your emails. Always try to hit a positive tone, even if your reply is less than ten words.

You’re a writer, after all. You can put emotion into a handful of words, can’t you?

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. Now you have hit on my personal pet peeve.

    Rude e-mail, especially rude business e-mail gets me going on a rant.
    Now I won’t do that here at 5:51 in the morning pre-coffee because you handled it so nicely that you actually made me smile. So just a current example.

    Last week a business associate’s assistent e-mailed me to ask me if I would do her boss a favor. No greeting, no goodbye, just could you, and time and date. I haven’t even met them .

    When I took the time to respond-nicely- that I would be happy to help and was looking forward to meeting her in person…blah- blah, close with nice goodbye,

    her reply was-

    Fine.
    Great.

    (Not even a thank you…no goodbye )

    hmm!!!

    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..The Cannoli Tube

  2. LOL, That picture could be James’ alter ego. Nice one Harry.

    One thing I would add from experience is ALWAYS read your email before hitting that send button. You might end up saying something you can’t take back without meaning to. πŸ™‚

  3. Brett Legree says:

    Although I can’t always stick to brevity, I try to keep things as polite and positive as possible. A greeting, the body of the email with a polite list of what it is you want to say or are seeking, and a polite & professional salutation.

    I always liked this:

    http://five.sentenc.es/

    I try to live by that at work. We send too much stuff by email here, if it can’t be done in five sentences, I’ll go visit the person.

    My own pet peeve would be the one line emails that say:

    I need Report X by 5 pm
    —–
    Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Device

    I’m always tempted to reply, “Gee, thanks for that personal touch.”

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  4. Interesting post James!

    I think the culprit is, of course, e-mail. It tends to convey a false “casual” impression. In fact, e-mail communications to a client need to be carefully crafted and not casually thrown out there at all.

    Thanks for the reminder. I know that I’ve been guilty of not paying enough attention to my e-mails and I’m sure that other writers could probably say the same.

    Laura Spencer’s last blog post..Of Note: Daily Writing Tips

  5. @ Brett – That’s the PERFECT example of what I’m talking about. It’s not really rude, it’s not nasty, it’s not flaming, it’s just… dry. Blunt. Direct.

    And look. People. If you’re going to buy a fucking Blackberry to stay in touch, don’t make it MY PROBLEM.

    I called out one of my clients on the short emails and asked if there was a problem, that she sounded very irritated. I got back a tirade about how I should be understanding that the person is typing with two thumbs from a Blackberry and that she really can’t inject more into her communication.

    Then don’t fucking contact me. Okay? Throw out the Blackberry. If you can’t be nice – even in five words or less – then you have no business using that thing. YOUR lack of ability with two-fingered typing is NOT my problem. It is YOUR problem. Take a course. Practice. Wait, how many fingers does a two-character emoticon need?

    I do NOT like Blackberries or cellphone communications. I don’t care how busy anyone is – if they’re too busy to take the time to communicate properly in a way that leaves everyone feeling good, then they really should do something about
    that.

    Can I ban Blackberries? I could return the email and say, “I’m sorry, Blackberry notes are not accepted. Please try again.”

    /rant

  6. Brett Legree says:

    @ James: we’re on the same wavelength today… πŸ™‚

    There was one person in particular I used to work with who was bad for this. Blunt, rude BlackBerry messages. And when we asked her about this, she said almost the exact same thing, “you have to understand it is hard for me to type long messages on it when I’m busy, or in the car”

    ???

    So, for two weeks I set up a rather polite email filter on any messages coming in from her BlackBerry, with an autoresponse saying that I was busy doing other important work and I would address the email in due course…

    I noted an increase in telephone calls from this people and a sharp drop (to almost zero) in the number of BlackBerry messages.

    Seriously – if you only have time to tap out a blunt one-liner, pick up the phone.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  7. Brett Legree says:

    (people / person) need a coffee…

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  8. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

    This one’s hitting home with me. People have become lax about good communication because of email. And NOW, they are even becoming lax about good EMAIL communication.

    James, you beat me to the Blackberry rant, so I will spare everyone. πŸ˜‰

    Kristen’s last blog post..Broccoli and Rock Stars: Learning to Rely on Your Intuition

  9. Hands Brett and James a pot of James’ favorite Jett Fuel and keeps the Xanax on standby… just in case. πŸ™‚

  10. @James: I agree on the CrackBerry thing. Having the ability to communicate on the go does not give you a free pass for rudeness. Can’t type with your thumbs? Get a Bluetooth keyboard or hire a secretary that can transcribe your needs without being rude. Besides, I type better with my thumbs, it just takes a little practice.

  11. Brett Legree says:

    @ Jamie:

    (*takes cup of coffee, raises it up to Jamie as gesture of thanks*)

    I’d do the same thing, if I had a CrackBerry – in fact, I suggested a Bluetooth keyboard to a few people.

    “too much trouble” was the response…

    “Fine, do things the hard way…” was my reply.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  12. I liked the “balance” thought.

    Let’s see, can I comment here and make it the right length

    That 2nd line is an example of the advice I’d give. “Be Yourself” (like it or not, I attempt good humor in my writing.. that’s me)

    When I’m angry or sad, I try to be a better version of myself. Not necessarily overly friendly, but not worried about that line too much.

    After all, I really don’t want to work with people who do don’t like me the way I am.. no sense hiding it.

  13. Gosh, if people thought a little bit harder about their emails we’d all spend less time there and avoid many misunderstanding or unnecessary frustrations. I really enjoyed this post.

    Personally I feel we should try to avoid email on phones whenever possible, as well, since that is the place we most often make mistakes or over-abbreviate our communication.

    Keep up the good fight for better communication!

    Jared Goralnick’s last blog post..7 uncommon online purchases thatÒ€ℒll save you time and money

  14. James you’re right. I struggle with striking the right balance in emails. As a woman, I try to watch emoticons and exclamation marks, but also try to convey warmth while remaining professional. However, there are times when I just want to add a smiley to convey warmth. I do it with abandon on Twitter but refrain in emails. It’s funny because I really don’t even like the stupid emoticons but they do seem to help make a point. Well shoot thanks for getting me all deep and reflective before I’ve had my second cup of coffee! Off to sip and contemplate.

  15. Here’s what got me:

    Ò€œyou have to understand it is hard for me to type long messages on it when IÒ€ℒm busy, or in the carÒ€

    In the car????

    Excuse me, but if you’re typing with TWO THUMBS while YOU’RE DRIVING you have no business being on the road. Period. End of story.

    This is my biggest pet peeve. As a motorcyclist, I have to deal with crappy drivers every day. The ones on the cellphones are the worst. I’ve had people push me out of my lane, cut me off, stop short in front of me for no reason, blow off red lights and stop signs, and any other number of traffic violations, all because they were doing something other than paying attention to the road.

    Hell, I even tell my own mother I won’t talk to her on her cell if she’s driving at the same time.

  16. @Brett – I get that exact email from my boss constantly!
    “Need X before meeting today.”
    It’s all I can do to not reply, “Sure, I’ll make you look good once again.”
    I’ve been noticing that people develop one email style and then use it for all communications. Maybe it’s just me, but I use a different tone when I’m asking someone for something versus a quick note to my best friend.
    Grrr. Thanks for bringing this up, now I’m all fired up.

  17. James,

    Nice timing. I was just looking at an email this morning and trying to gauge the mood of the sender. Unhappy with something we’re working on or just a jerk? Or in the car and “typing”? I’m always wishing there were more time in my day for face-to-face.

    I loathe emoticons, and it shows, because I probably avoid them too often for my own good. They seem to keep other people happy, as I suppose I might have been a minute ago when reading that email. I’m trying to get used to them.

    Regards,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post..The Baffling Results of Wearing Holes in my Black Pumps

  18. Oh, you wondrous Men with Pens.

    I have several times thought I mortally offended clients because I would send out nice, breezy, professional emails, with perhaps a little joke in there to make the morning go down a little better, only to receive something back like,

    “Please invoice by the third.”

    It’s like the joke from the Hobbit. “Please invoice by the third, you really want to get rid of me by the third and never speak to me again, because my little joke offended you to the depths of your soul?” Do you mean, “Please invoice by the third, because you’re such a delightful copywriter I can’t wait to pay you appropriately for your wonderful service?” Or that “My accountant is pissing me off today, and she says I have to make you invoice by the third or she can’t be bothered to pay my hires?”

    Good morning, indeed.

    Also, BlackBerry users: the keyboard is there for your convenience. This should make it EASIER for you to send a normal text message. I properly punctuate ones from my phone, and it doesn’t have that dandy thumbable keyboard.

    Tei’s last blog post..The Stupid Tool You Never Use Because You Think It’s Stupid

  19. So James, here’s your next post topic (you’re probably working on it already)

    “Improve Your Email Etiquette With Twitter”

    I get the sense that Twitter is by and large more civil, even though the posts are short.

    When I’m constrained to 140 characters I have concentrate to make sure my post is short, but not terse. How to project warmth when I don’t have the room to wrapper things with “Hi James, ….Thanks, Mark”

    I think the problem with terse emails is the author a much larger canvas to work with and chooses not to use it.

    Then again, maybe I’m filtering on Twitter by unfollowing the arses. I can’t always choose who sends me email.

    Mark

    Mark Dyck’s last blog post..My Mouth is Full of Marbles, When I Write

  20. @Tei — very good point! It only took a couple days practice to really fly on a Blackberry keypad. And I have stubby thumbs. But fast. Really fast. And deadly accurate.

    Mark Dyck’s last blog post..My Mouth is Full of Marbles, When I Write

  21. Speaking of blackberries…I abhor those terse messages from crackberry users that end in Thx. I mean just wait until you can email me a response. I don’t need your stupid terse message where you can’t even bother to type out “Thanks” and that tells me you’re responding from your Blackberry. Truly, you’ve accomplished nothing, you’ve answered nothing so why even bother? if it’s urgent, I’ll say so and then you can freakin answer or call me, yea call on that thing we used to call a phone. The funny thing is crackberry users complain about stress and too many messages when they are the ones polluting cyberspace with their meaningless little missives. GRRRRRR!

  22. Brett Legree says:

    @ Harry: I knew that one would get to you. I can’t believe it myself sometimes, how people don’t respect motorcycles.

    I don’t even have a bike, but my car has a manual gearbox which does take a bit more finesse to drive properly and cell phones / text messaging do not mix with that (not that they even should with an automatic).

    I guess I’ve become so aware of what I’m doing behind the wheel, that it drives me nuts when there’s somebody in a big SUV inching up behind me at an intersection… while chatting on a cell phone… and yelling at the kids in the back seat.

    Maybe people *should* have to drive a manual, as it would force them to pay attention a little more. Or try driving a motorcycle. It really opens your eyes.

    @ Mary: you read my mind, “yes, boss, I’ll pull your butt out of the fire once again”

    @ Tei & Mark: I am with you, I get the feeling a lot of folks use the “I’m on a BlackBerry” thing to send out snippy messages and feel like they are busy and important… I don’t have time for that.

    -Brett

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  23. Quiet Rebel Writer says:

    Terrific post. I find myself agonizing over emails because I’ve been on the receiving end of way too many stumpers. Is she pissed at me because it was so short? Is he happy with my work, or ready to bolt? Are we going to have a fight when he gets home? (uh – that one’s non work-related)

    Anywho, I put a lot of work into my emails so that my clients and other folks can easily understand me and the things I’m requesting/giving. Unfortunately, I don’t get a lot of that in return. Blergh.

    @Karenswim – I totally understand the issue of being a woman and being afraid to look flighty or immature or anything else. I think I double agonize over stuff because of that.

  24. I’ll have you know that MY emails are often witty, entertaining, informative and downright modest.

    RhodesTer’s last blog post..or, NOT..

  25. @ Mark, It is my understanding that Twitter was created for mobile phone users. That’s why the character limit is 140, any more than that and you get charged for a second SMS (text) message. That’s my tidbit for the day.

    @Harry, I liked the story about the woman who cut you off on Lucifer while she was trying to get the dog to talk to “daddy”on the cell phone. πŸ™‚

  26. @James – This post is the perfect example of how entrepreneurs are marketers. Even if you aren’t marketing a product or service during a casual email, you’re still marketing yourself. Everyone needs to remember this important note. Entrepreneurs are always on stage . . . always.

    About the blackberry, yeah – I hate them too. Don’t have one, don’t need one and if people get one they should learn how to use it efficiently. If they have two thumbs, maybe they should try a service like Jott.

    @Harry – don’t even get me started on how bad motorcycle drivers are! But yes, people on cell phones in the car become bad drivers. I only talk on the phone while in the car if I have my headset on. Still not great, but better.

    @Jamie – who knows, maybe that is James and he’s been fooling us all along. And maybe Brett really is Tyler Durden?

    @Wendi – don’t you wish sometimes you could be just as rude to customers – it’s so one-sided and not fair πŸ˜‰

    John Hoff’s last blog post..How To Answer Questions As An Entrepreneur

  27. Speaking of customer service (and ranting . . .) I just have to get this out.

    I’ve been on hold with Yahoo Web Hosting technical support for over 30 minutes! What the hell? Isn’t Yahoo like the biggest company in the world or something? Do they only employ 1 tech support person on the phone?

    What message are they conveying to me? Not even a person coming on to say, “Can we call you back when we are available.”

    I tried their email contact and it goes in a loop (when I click continue I go back to the previous page). I hate hate hate Yahoo’s customer service.

    Ok, so you’re asking why do I have a Yahoo web hosting account if I’m a web host myself? Well, my brother has this website that happens to be in the number 1 position on Yahoo and Google . . . so I won’t screw with a good thing

    Sorry . . . seeing James rant and let it all out made me want to as well.

    John Hoff’s last blog post..How To Answer Questions As An Entrepreneur

  28. @ John, I just got a coupon from In Motion Hosting for $40 off if you decide to switch. πŸ™‚

  29. I can’t stand short emails…but c’mon guys – you’re taking it a bit far by getting angry about the Blackberry emails!

    I don’t have one myself, so I’m not defending it for me – but do you realize how much of a pain in the ass it can be to write on those things? If you really expect them to be sprinkling their Blackberry messages with sugar, then perhaps it’s YOU that’s being rude…because that’s quite an inconvenience.

    Short blunt emails…brutal. But short messages from a Blackberry is expected these days (especially if it’s a “reply” or based on something you’ve already discussed).

    Nonetheless…the overall post was great! It is one of my pet peeves as well – as I hate wondering if they intended to be rude or simply didn’t have time to respond.

    Wendy – your example off the start would have caused me to send a rude email right back. I don’t send them very often, but I would have quickly said – “I would appreciate it if you showed some gratitude next time…Surely I deserve more than a blunt two word response.”

    Chad’s last blog post..Forget the Elevator Speech!

  30. @Jamie – that’s ok. If I did switch I’d move it to my company. Thanks for the offer for the coupon, though.

    John Hoff’s last blog post..How To Answer Questions As An Entrepreneur

  31. Okay…I’ve read a few more messages about the Blackberry topic.

    In my books, if they want to respond “on the go” then I don’t mind. I know it’s not rude when it’s from a Blackberry.

    I agree with some of you that say they should just wait for when they have computer access — true if it’s a big deal, but if it can have a short response then why not? “Need that report ASAP” is fine by my books…but only from a Blackberry.

    I can’t believe you guys expect them to buy a keyboard for them as well…

    Chad’s last blog post..Forget the Elevator Speech!

  32. Hey Kelly! Did you ever re-stock Harry’s fridge from the other day? I think we may need to start early tonight. πŸ˜‰

  33. @ Chad, My keyboard was under $40, and I use it often.

  34. Brett Legree says:

    @ Chad: I can see your point about a short email from a BlackBerry to some extent, the slippery slope I’ve seen is emails that you know are coming from a BlackBerry user (that are not coming from the BlackBerry) that say:

    “need that report asap kthxbye”

    I have seen those. Sent by someone who is not 20 feet away, down the hall…

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  35. If I may:

    I wrote up a little business E-mail guideline which might cover similar territory, but with a couple of extra ideas:

    http://www.bizcovering.com/Business/Writing-Better-Business-Emails.47822

    In general, however, I’d lean towards shorter E-Mails.

    Mark Dykeman’s last blog post..Being a role model might not be much fun

  36. Haha…Brett, that’s too funny.

    I’m actually looking forward to one like that now…gotta think of a clever thing to say back.

    Chad’s last blog post..Forget the Elevator Speech!

  37. Nope, sorry. Can’t excuse the Blackberry users.

    I don’t expect them to BUY a keyboard. The BlackBerry comes with one. Not necessarily the full layout one, but I can send a text from my phone on the little normal 1-9 keypad, and it doesn’t really take all THAT much longer. I refuse to believe we are all so busy that a couple extra taps on a keypad is too much for us.

    Rude is rude, Blackberry or no. Plus, there’s a whole generation of people who seem to never learn to communicate effectively in new media, since ‘everyone’ does it. Mostly, strangely enough, older folk, who are used to phone conversations, where the tone of voice comes through regardless of wording.

    Or younger folk, who can’t stop writing things like, “CU l8r” in their WORK emails, by all that is holy. We are still professionals. That gadget is supposed to indicate that you have UBER-professional status. You are so professional, you need a Blackberry to keep track of stuff. Sending messages like, “K thx bi” is not professional, I don’t care how busy you are.

    Tei’s last blog post..The Stupid Tool You Never Use Because You Think It’s Stupid

  38. Where’s Kelly when you need her? Thank God Brett is here to interject some laid back Canadian wisdom…

    @Tei, I agree, I think short emails between friends is fine, but if you use your email or your phone for business, you should strive to uphold a business-like, professional manner, even if that means actually typing out real words on your BlackBerry.

  39. This is a very timely post! We just had a long conversation in our department about emails and instant messages. Our corporate culture leans heavily on communication via the web (in large part because we’re very spread out), yet no one bothers to go over basic email ettiquette with employees. So much can be misread in an email if you’re not specific and clear. Sometimes it’s hard to balance the need for clarity with brevity…but finding that middle ground is what makes a good email.

  40. @Tei

    Ò€œCU l8rÒ€ !!!!!???????????

    would you please be a spokesperson–or one of you- to this lovely younger generation who thinks that somehow this is English???

    Now I don’t know if it is my age, or my dyslexia or just a dent in my IQ
    But when Ya’ll write this #@!#!@ it takes me so long to figure out WHAT you just said that I no longer care WHAT you wanted or meant by it.

    This is not a proper form of communication with anyone you ever hope to exchange money with.

    @Chad- Try Real Estate someday!
    it doesn’t pay to be rude. It doesn’t PAY to be rude. It doesn’t PAY to be rude.

    There are days I just have to invoke a mantra with some folks….. πŸ™‚

    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..The Cannoli Tube

  41. @Chad Sure, to an extent the short Blackberry messages are ok, but when the bulk messages are blunt is when it gets annoying. Sometimes blunt is fine, but I think there has to be some variety in communications. If 90% of the messages sent out are the “Need report ASAP” kind, people are forming opinions of based solely on those short, blunt notes. If you(*) don’t toss in a longer more personal email or a quick phone call once in awhile what impression do people get?

    * And by you I, of course, don’t mean YOU, but Blackberry users in general.

    Can you imagine how much worse it’s going to get once the texting teens of today become the business people of tomorrow? The only thing flying through cyberspace is going to be: LOL! JK! YMMV, but IMHO it’s tru. Thx! -N

  42. @ Chad, I personally don’t care if they use a keyboard. I do not even mind a short message (actually prefer short messages) that provides a directive, or information. My complaint is the messages without value that only seem to serve the purpose of letting me know (tersely) that they’re using their blackberry.

    @ Tei, yes, yes, yes! I’m 44 and don’t know every single text abbreviation. In marketing we avoid insulting our audience with unexplained acronyms that may not be universally understood, yet thumb texters ignore this sage advice. I have received these abbreviated messages from young and old and it is frustrating. Arrrrgghhh!

  43. Hello, all, how sweet to be missed!

    K thx bi belongs on icanhascheezburger, and nowhere else.

    Is that too brief?

    Kelly is in meetings. Not the icky kind where you get stupid emails afterward, not today anyway. That was Monday.

    My ship’s too small for emailing each other, and my age too old for anyone to think I’ll put up with that crap.

    *Deletes “crap” three times, because I don’t like foul language in print, than decides it’s not so foul after all.*

    Down with blackberries if they are a main cause of this; down with anyone who doesn’t have respect for motorcyclists and truck drivers, who always get taken advantage on the road. And down with the motorcyclists who give motorcyclists a bad name by bobbing and weaving like it’s a boxing match, or by not putting their picture on their About Page.

    Would a wink go well here? πŸ˜‰

    Until later,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post..The Baffling Results of Wearing Holes in my Black Pumps

  44. I love I Can Has Cheezburger!

    I know the acronyms, but don’t use them, not even on my phone. Somehow it seems to be an insult on the English language, worse than profanity. Must just be the writer in me.

  45. YMMV? I have no clue, please enlighten me. This is why I never text from my phone, takes too long to figure this stuff out.

    Down with texting/talking/eating/shaving/putting on mascara while driving. Pay attention to the road, your vehicle is not a tonka toy. Pay attention to motorcycle riders, you can injure or kill them.

    Now that we have collectively solved the world’s problems, I’m off to another meeting.

  46. Brett Legree says:

    @ All: one thing I don’t know about the BlackBerry (should I admit this? Does it mean I lose my “geek mojo”, or does it make me cooler…) anyway, one thing I don’t know because I’m not “blessed” with one is this – can you customize the salutation, and could you put in a custom greeting?

    e.g. when I click “New” in Outlook, I’ve set up some templates here at work – the default one goes something like this:

    Dear (blank space, where I type the person’s name)

    then I type my message

    then there’s a default salutation that says

    Regards,

    Brett A. Legree
    Nookular Engineer Extraordinaire and Grand Poohbah

    (okay, it doesn’t say the last part)

    But seriously, can you not customize the opening & closing greetings? I assume you can. So, why not do it.

    You could even put a bunch of winks in there πŸ˜‰

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  47. @Karen Your Mileage May Vary. πŸ™‚

  48. @ Nicole, thanks! *thunks head* This is why I suck at texting.

  49. @Karen You were probably better off not knowing. It’s not exactly a skill one advertises, do they? I say learn to type faster instead, and you don’t have to exist in acronym hell. πŸ™‚

  50. Wait, I totally put on makeup while driving. But only if stopped, like dead traffic jam or a light.

    Can we not say down with that, ‘cuz then I’ll look like Jon Bon Jovi after a long hard night of being yelled at by Dorothea.

    Gotta go, rockin’ discussion going on at MCE. I was supposed to be going to get my cell phone fixed right now, but I’m having too much fun pretending I’m James, Le Roi du Comments today.

    Later,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post..The Baffling Results of Wearing Holes in my Black Pumps

  51. @Nicole the way things are going you may be able to start charging for that skill.

    @ Kelly, didn’t you notice I said while driving, being stopped is technically not driving, so you’re in the clear. I mean come on who we are kidding, no makeup in the car? LOL!

    Recent edit jobs do validate that English is going to hell in a handbasket. People actually use text shorthand in other forms of writing. They also use “webspeak” where everything is written like a url with no spaces. Too funny!

    Gotta dash, need lipstick for 4 pm meeting! πŸ™‚ Karen

  52. @ Brett: “Nookular Engineer Extraordinaire and Grand Poohbah”…I like it. Maybe we should get you a name tag made up.

  53. @ Brett- Did I tell you you’re a brilliantly astute man ? No, no, has nothing to do with your comment on Kelly’s post today… really.
    @ Jamie- I hear you. See if she left a cold Heineken or a Dixie long neck.
    @ Tei- my favorite- “rude is rude” You are so right for that.
    @Kelly+ Karin- it’s a required skill isn’t it? lipstick on the run with or without mirror.

    Since I prefer using my Waterman pen and rarely use my thumbs for typing anything, I will just say I spend a lot of time making sure that emails I send are likely to be read as I intended them. Sometimes what is in my head is surprisingly not on the screen like I thought it was.
    As a good friend of mine, always carefully spoken, says, she is never unintentionally rude. If she ‘s going to be rude you will know it. πŸ™‚

    Janice C Cartier’s last blog post..The Part Where Jenny Gets Nervous

  54. Janice, I agree with your friend- at least in theory.

    I go out of my way not to be rude, especially in business. But when I hit the wall…..

    that’s the end of it.

    I will still TRY not to be rude…but you Will know what hit you! πŸ™‚

    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..The Pie Theory: A Story About Pie.

  55. Okay – some of the examples you guys have listed are indeed ridiculous. I don’t know if you’re exaggerating to prove a point – but I’ve never had a client say “c u l8r” or “k thx bi”. I suppose I don’t deal with as many 5 year olds in business as some of you πŸ˜‰

    Nonetheless, I think two things need to change to resolve the basic issue (not poor spelling, but rather short emails)…

    1) People need to be more polite in their emails.
    2) You can’t overreact to a Blackberry email – especially if you have a relationship with the person.

    Chad’s last blog post..Forget the Elevator Speech!

  56. @ Chad – I hear where you’re coming from. I think brevity is fine and busy people are fine, and yes, you and I may be used to that (I certainly am). That doesn’t excuse the following emails I recently received:

    Nice. Thx. (Wow. That’s flat.)
    This is because? (This ended up in a series of emails that would’ve been avoided had I recognized that the person wasn’t being snotty, she really meant to say, “Can you explain that a little more?” but didn’t have the time.)
    Got it. (Okay… and what about the rest of the questions I had? Where’s the answer to that?)

    Three words. Three word emails. Come on, Chad. I’m sure even you and I communicate with longer emails than that… (makes note to email Chad…)

  57. @ Chad, I wish I were kidding. It’s funny but the rude emails or those in text-speak are typically from U.S. Corporate clients (don’t throw tomatoes I’m North American too!). Again, short is fine but text speak or a message without value is a waste of time.

    It is also funny when people insist on multiple emails rather than spending 5 minutes on the phone to quickly work through an issue.

    The rare times I have been purposely rude, the clients actually responded favorably. All were men so my rudeness was probably lost on them.

    Gotta go send Chad an email. πŸ™‚

    Karen Swim’s last blog post..Punch it Up with Personality

  58. James,

    Those certainly are flat, unprofessional, and could be easily interpreted as rude. My biggest pet peeve with short emails (I’m not trying to defend them in all cases) is when…

    1) They don’t answer a question I had asked
    2) They don’t explain information that I need to know

    I personally don’t mind brevity – especially with a Blackberry – but I expect my previous email to be addressed.

    Good points…I find myself trying to balance my dislike for short emails with my understanding of how difficult it is to type with a Blackberry.

    Chad’s last blog post..Forget the Elevator Speech!

  59. Karen, no worries – I’m Canadian too πŸ™‚

    Chad’s last blog post..Forget the Elevator Speech!

  60. Wait, wait. Stop. Karen is CANADIAN? No. This can’t be true. Yes?

    The Canucks shall rule the world.

    @ Chad – I think my biggest complaint is skimping on manners in the name of brevity. There’s a balance between the two, I think. A-listers are brief as hell in their emails, but they never come off as rude or arrogant. And I’d love Blackberries if people didn’t use them as an excuse πŸ™‚

  61. ::sigh:: No one’s American but me.

    The la-hand of the free-hee! And the home of the . . . Tei.

    And NO ONE else.

    Tei’s last blog post..The Stupid Tool You Never Use Because You Think It’s Stupid

  62. Brett Legree says:

    @ Jamie: maybe I’ll try that nametag tomorrow and see how it flies at work. I’m due for a raise, so that might be the ticket πŸ™‚

    @ Janice: thanks πŸ™‚ well, what you said was right on the money too.

    @ Tei: I was going to say, “run, you’re surrounded”, but something tells me you could hold your own against just about anything or anyone πŸ™‚

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  63. Brett Legree says:

    (Kelly’s going to kill me for all of the smileys I put in that last message…)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  64. Tei, You are not alone…
    Ohio Bred, Chicago led,

    Just a little midwest girl….here…

    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..The Pie Theory: A Story About Pie.

  65. Brett,

    πŸ˜‰

    Karen,

    I mean, I just gotta touch up the lipstick halfway through the day (this gets lots of looks, which is a bonus if you’re single)! And a lady can’t have a shiny nose while trying to transact business, so I must pull out the powder at a red light on the way to a meeting…

    Tei,

    USA here. And silent but gorgeous Harry, of course.

    Stuck in DE for the conceivable future. Northern girl, trapped. Ahem, I mean if there’s a local listening, gosh I love it here. Stuck in traffic for the last hour, with car exhaust everywhere, 85 degrees. When the jam finally cleared (Karen, you should see the lipstick) it cooled somewhat, to 78. UGH.

    Later…

    Kelly’s last blog post..The Baffling Results of Wearing Holes in my Black Pumps

  66. Oh yeah, three American girls… now we have a girl gang…

    La Te Da…

    All putting lipstick on in parked cars…

    it’s an american thang…

    that’s it, I’m breakin’ open the first bottle…

    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..The Pie Theory: A Story About Pie.

  67. Brett Legree says:

    @ Kelly, right after I posted the comment I thought of you… (wearing *nice* shoes, not hobbit shoes… πŸ™‚ )

    Beware the girl gang of Tei, Kelly, & Wendi… run boys!

    (but not too fast, they’re kind of cute)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  68. Yay for all-American girls.

    Oakland, baby. West side to the fullest.

    And by ‘fullest’ I do mean, Wendi, pour some of that bottle into my cup.

    @ Brett – It’s true. Me and my sword collection.

    Tei’s last blog post..The Stupid Tool You Never Use Because You Think It’s Stupid

  69. Hey! I’m American! And don’t piss off those Canadians…they’re massing their population along the border for an invasion.

  70. Brett Legree says:

    @ Tei: if you have a sword collection, your coolness factor just went up by two orders of magnitude…

    @ Sandie: now that you know the truth, we’ll have to kidnap you πŸ™‚

    (don’t worry, we’ll be nice)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  71. @Brett – Hey…I was born in Alaska…Canada can’t be that bad!

  72. Stop me if I’ve said this before, three times today in different phrasing on various blogs, but how lucky is Brett’s wife?

    (Picturing her reading this over is shoulder, saying “Yeah, how lucky am I,” then handing him the garbage to go out.)

    Brett, you are such a… mensch. Can’t think of another word.

    Great dude.

    Was there a topic here? πŸ˜‰

    Kelly’s last blog post..The Baffling Results of Wearing Holes in my Black Pumps

  73. @ Kelly – There was at some point. Hopefully I’ll be back to my regularly programmed schedule in a day or three to make sure that all things stay off course and highly entertaining…

  74. Brett Legree says:

    @ Sandie: I’ve heard Alaska is gorgeous and I’ve seen photos (photos never seem to do it justice, though… I found that with New Zealand) – I’d love to go there. I will…

    @ Kelly: as lucky as she is, I’m luckier to have her. She is quite simply, awesome. Sort of like you πŸ™‚

    (I’m laughing too, as you got the garbage part right, that actually happened already tonight…)

    Oh my, I’ll have to have a beer or three so that my head doesn’t swell too much from the kind compliments… anybody want a beer? I have cold Steinlager in the fridge.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  75. *Standing on the bridge waving wildly* Michigan is part of North America too! LOL! Geez, I thought US Americans were regionalcentric. πŸ™‚ Hey, we share a bridge, and trash so I guess Michiganders are honorary Canucks, eh?

    Karen Swim’s last blog post..Punch it Up with Personality

  76. Brett,

    I ain’t married now but I still remember how to ride the bike… or some such.

    James,

    I miss you. You’ve been gone so long. Bet you wish you were down in this ridiculous heat, watching our Pommery go flat.

    Must write post…

    Kelly’s last blog post..The Baffling Results of Wearing Holes in my Black Pumps

  77. @ Kelly – I miss you too. I miss everyone. This too, shall pass, and I shall return in all glorious bright sunshine.

  78. @ James: Before the Canadians take over, let me know so I can jump the border, k?

    @ Tei and the Pen Girl Gang: Count me in, I’ve been stuck here in the Ohio Valley my whole life. To make it worse, I live smack in the middle of Amish country. It’s great for postcards, but a nightmare for traffic. James says if I learn to drive backwards in the snow I might be able to move to Canada. πŸ™‚

  79. @Brett: I do, in fact, have a sword collection. I am champion to a very large bearded Viking-like dude, and he made me my first one. The collection would be a lot bigger if I had more disposable income.

    @Sandie I don’t think Canada’s supposed to be BAD . . . more that they’re outnumbering us in freelance-ville. Makes us lonely.

    Tei’s last blog post..The Stupid Tool You Never Use Because You Think It’s Stupid

  80. dear james
    noticed post
    harmony

    Harmony’s last blog post..The ABCÒ€ℒs of Golden Zen

  81. I grew up with Canda as the view from my window. Does that count for anything?

  82. Brevity is the soul of Harmony.

    It’s like she actually paid attention to the post itself . . . ::gazes in awe:: . . . It’s like . . . MAGIC.

    Tei’s last blog post..The Stupid Tool You Never Use Because You Think It’s Stupid

  83. Pardon my drawl, southern woman in the room. Are all y’all at it again? Hmm, what to sip what to sip?

    Janice C Cartier’s last blog post..The Part Where Jenny Gets Nervous

  84. this community is always fun.
    thanks for noticing Tei…
    Thought it made a point. πŸ™‚
    till the next time!
    Harmony
    PS…sipping.

    Harmony’s last blog post..The ABCÒ€ℒs of Golden Zen

  85. Janice,

    Here’s how I know I’m in the nearly-South (besides the blasted heat). Today I was interviewing a local business owner, and a patron at the place looked me up and down and said, “You look great! You’re jus’ a tall drink of water!”

    Wait for it…

    The patron was a woman. I believe she was telling me I was dressed well. Either that or I now have *two* dates for tomorrow night.

    Somebody give me a call on my cell if I’m not home by nine.

    πŸ™‚ Smiley face inserted for Brett.

    Later, y’all.

    Kelly’s last blog post..The Baffling Results of Wearing Holes in my Black Pumps

  86. Kelly,
    She was tellin’ you you were fine and tall. Entering your number on speed dial.

    And Brett thanks right back. πŸ™‚

    Le bon soir.
    Jan

    Janice C Cartier’s last blog post..The Part Where Jenny Gets Nervous

  87. Brett Legree says:

    @ Kelly: πŸ™‚ smiley back at you, yeah, “riding a bike” is something you never forget how to do… thank goodness…

    We’ll expect a message from you by nine, otherwise I’ll be in the Batmobile on my way down to rescue you.

    @ Tei: okay, your coolness factor just went up *another* two orders of magnitude, due to your affiliation with Vikings.

    When I grow up, I want to be a Viking.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

  88. @Brett – Yes, Alaska is gorgeous. It’s tough to go from having a postcard view from your bedroom window to living next to the Missouri River. If you do visit…Summer Solstice is a great time to do it. It’s light nearly all night and the parties rock.

    @Tei – I know the Canadians aren’t bad…I have many Canadian friends. But can you blame them for wanting to invade us?

  89. Brett Legree says:

    @ Sandie: you speak to my pagan heart, Summer Solstice… I can imagine that it would be perfect there πŸ™‚

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..focus on writing – part 1 – back to the future.

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