Email Etiquette Plain and Simple

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Yesterday I read my friend and public relations guru Dan Janal’s weekly blog, which he titled “Email Productivity: Tips to Improve Media Relations and Customer Service.” Needless to say, it struck a chord with me as I read on. I must confess that Dan generally hits the nail right on the head and has a strong message for his readers and followers.

This week he debunks the myth that in order to be productive, you should never check your email in the morning. Those who say that insist that such a practice is “useless, time consuming, distracting, low priority and takes away valuable time from your ‘big ideas.'” I confess that email is the first thing I check in the morning–after I feed the cats. In their opinion, food trumps email.

In addition to those who warn you not to open your email in the morning, there are others who caution you to check your messages only at set times during the day. In one sense this might make you more productive. After all if you are writing a proposal, working on a project or engaged in another important activity, email can be an interruption.

However, if you depend on other people such as clients, customers and even vendors to help you grow your business; you could potentially miss out on valuable opportunities by limiting the times during the day that you open your email.

In my case, as a speaker and trainer, I might miss a message from someone who is looking for a presenter for their next meeting. Perhaps the person they had scheduled had to cancel at the last minute. This person doesn’t have all day to get a response. It may be that a reporter is looking for a quote for an article and has an imminent deadline. In both cases these people will move on and find someone else who can help them.

In my opinion, it is not only bad business to be so arrogant as to put yourself above others, it is discourteous and disrespectful. When the people who support your business need you, be there for them and be responsive, no matter the time of day. Plain and simple, it’s just good email etiquette.

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Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

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4 thoughts on “Email Etiquette Plain and Simple

  1. Denise Wakeman

    I agree with both you and Erin, Lydia. I check my email first thing in order to take care of the people who are counting on me. I’ve also had similar experiences with reporters, both with getting interviews because I replied immediately, and with missing out because I did not respond right away. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  2. Erin

    Great points about the urgent emails! I couldn’t agree more.

    I recently received an email from a reporter that needed something right away for featured story. If I had missed it or responded after someone else that would have been a missed opportunity.

    To make my email inbox more “pleasurable” I have rules setup so all my newsletters, updates, notices, etc don’t stay in the main stream inbox. This really helps me keep my finger on the pulse of my business and respond to urgent items right away.

    Thanks so much for sharing your point of view, it’s spot on!


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