Would I Want to Receive This Email?

I went on vacation last month.

A real vacation.

With no laptop.

For anyone that knows me, you understand what a big deal this was. BIG. DEAL.

It required stepping WAY outside of my comfort zone and trusting those around me to handle things as I would want them handled. BIG. DEAL. AGAIN.

I set my out-of-office notice saying that I wasn’t checking email and who to contact if the request was truly urgent and couldn’t wait 1 week until I plugged back in.

The intention of not taking a laptop and not checking email was to have an opportunity to truly recharge and relax. I certainly accomplished that.

The unintentional thing that happened was that I am now more in tune with bad email behavior. Yes, I know the buzzwords that we are an “always-on” society. Business is “24/7.” Everything has to be “instant.” But guess what, we still have to have boundaries and basic respect of others. That means things like …

  • Using the “contact so-and-so if this is urgent” for something like “I am a salesperson and want to schedule a meeting with you so I can tell you about my awesome new product…”
  • Sending a routine, non-urgent email at 9:00am and then sending it again at 1:00pm saying “I haven’t heard from you yet …”
  • Sending a message at 11:00pm and then sending an “I emailed you yesterday but haven’t heard back” message at 7:00am the next morning …

… are not respectful or acceptable.  Keyboards and screens make it too easy to say and do things we wouldn’t normally say or do face-to-face, and smartphones make it too easy to assume that someone will respond instantaneously just because we all always have our phone with us.  We have to break those patterns.

Email etiquette is easy – just follow the “do unto others” rule. Before clicking that send button, ask yourself this “would I want to be on the receiving end of this message?” If the answer is no, don’t click send.

What is your biggest email pet peeve?

PS – yes, I will go on vacation without my laptop again!!!!!