Two Tips For Proper Email Etiquette During Coronavirus
We have the opportunity to be oblivious or empathetic. Choose the latter.
If you’ve ever gotten an email from me, chances are that I wrote a few extra sentences full of flowery language and over defined my plan.
I do that sometimes. I actually was reprimanded for doing it at my first job.
“This isn’t the time to be grandiose, just schedule a call,” I was told.
I quit that job a few years ago but looking back my manager’s comments were a compliment. What she was really saying was “Richie, you’re far too beautiful a writer to be working in Tech, get out there and write my darling!”
I added the darling part. I just watched Eat Pray Love and I’m a big Javier Bardem fan.
But, if you’ve ever gotten an email from me you’ve probably noticed my sign off too.
It’s a new thing I’m practicing. Rather than writing Sincerely, From, or Looking forward to your response it reads:
With gratitude, Richie
I started doing this as a way for me to work on my gratitude.
I had a job. I had an income. The people I was emailing with were either responsible for my lot in life, in the past, in the now, or will be in the future, maybe, if my email works.
So, these are the relationships that grant me my life of choice today. I should be grateful for that.
I know it’s not the premier way to practice gratitude, but a morning gratitude journal never worked for me, and this blog isn’t even about gratitude, it’s about empathy. It’s about being human with emails during the global coronavirus pandemic.
Publicly this conversation has happened with companies. There have been funny tweets about people realizing how many corporate lists their email is on, or even the New York Times profiling this realization.
I’ve even chimed in, calling out Wayfair for the 6 emails they sent me in a matter of 4 days offering discounts, and then to congratulate a Venice based clothing store Vardagen for how they chose to respond to the pandemic with a clever clothing line and a commitment of pledging 20% of sales to independent freelance creatives that are currently out-of-work due to the coronavirus.
That’s the difference.
Both sent emails. One was the ugly side of capitalism we demonstrate against, and the other was humanity.
So what’s this have to do with email etiquette?
Well, I’m not here to bend the ears of marketing directors who think their one time Instagram Live is going to start the rebound their CPG brand needs, for surely they’ve been in their seat longer than I, so they MUST know more than me.
Hey, I read books too!
My email etiquette is more about individuals, one to one communications.
And I only have two tips for you: How you open and how you close?
Let’s call it Pickle Jar Email Etiquette because if ya close it wrong, that shit stinks!
Actually, that’s a long name, you don’t need to call it that.
How To Open
When opening a new conversation, or replying to an existing one for the first time, before you make your point, state your case, or get into the details, pull up.
Here is your chance to be a leader, and a human.
Reply with this:
Hi <<Name>> Thank you for the message and before I reply, how are you? How is your health?
Hi <<Name>>, I’m excited to explore <<Objective>> with you, but before we do, how are you? How is your health?
What this does is prioritize your relationship, not your objective. Now is the time to be human, to be empathetic, and let those you interact and work with know the person you are.
How To Close
Closing an email should always be a call to action. When you say Looking forward to hearing back you put the ball in the other person’s court, don’t do that. You should be ending your emails with something along the lines of Does this sound like an appropriate next step for you? Or, Are there any other team members we should invite into this conversation? Or even, Does tomorrow at 3 pm work for a call to explore this?
But, during this pandemic, we find it’s appropriate to add another line.
That line is this:
With gratitude and good health, <<Your Name>>
You’ve now opened or joined the conversation with empathy and closed it with gratitude and the sending of conscious warmth.
Emails are written by humans and sent by robots. So write your emails and let the reader know they were written by a human.
Steal these openers, copy this closer, don’t quote me, it’s totally cool with me.
Now is not the time to worry about credit, that time will come.
With gratitude and good health!
The difference between Seth Godin, The Morning Brew, and me? I respect your inbox, curating only one newsletter per month — Join my behind-the-words monthly newsletter to feel what it’s like to receive a respectful newsletter.