Here’s where we are gonna sound like OldCrustySnark.
Manners matter, people.
This very well may be a sign ‘o the times, in this age of texting and tweeting and snapchatting and all other such abbreviated superinformal casual communications. And it may seem like a silly thing for us to be insisting on, considering the behavior that we see in elected officials today. But we’re not gonna back down on this.
When you’re sending an email to someone asking for something – like, in any type of business-y formal-ish situation of any sort – then it really should conform to some standard protocols.
Use a salutation at the top.
Say “Dear Person.”
Address your addressee.
Don’t just launch into your request.
ESPECIALLY if you’re making a request.
If you instead skip the greeting and just start spewing, then it will actually more than likely come across like you’re making a demand.
Even if you’re writing to a company, there’s still a person who will be receiving it and reading it. Yes, a person. As in, a real human being, who may or may not have been having an even worse day than you. It does not matter if you are happy or sad – or if you are angry at the company or not. A PERSON will be reading your email. Start off with something as simple as “Hello,” or “Hi there!” or “Greetings” and it changes the entire tone of your email.
If you do not do this, you will sound pushy. Or maybe just careless, or rushed or stressed out (still not a positive). If you do not do this, then you’re saying, “I don’t have time for standard human decency so I’m just going to spew out my needs upon you.” The only occasion we can excuse doing this skip-the-salutation thing is when the first line of your email is “OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE IT I JUST GOT ADMITTED TO BSCHOOL!”
For other inquiries? Nah. That puppy don’t fly.
Here’s another one: Your time is not more important than anybody else’s. (h/t @leahbent)
Maybe you’re genuinely feeling stressed. Maybe this thing-you’re-asking really is important. Maybe it seems “urgent” to you.
But guess what? JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE A TOTAL SLACKER AND YOU PROCRASTINATED YOUR WAY INTO A SITUATION THAT IS NOW PRESSURING YOU AND RESULTING IN MASSIVELY MAJORLY DIFFICULT EMOTIONS THAT ARE ALL PILING UP ON YOUR HEAD MAKING YOU WANT TO SCREAM… that’s not your recipient’s fault.
Please don’t send emails saying “URGENT” in the subject line when they are only “URGENT” because you didn’t plan ahead.
And please don’t do this multiple times over the course of
a two-week period the entirety of your relationship with that company.
(Have you figured out that we’re now talking about how some actual BSers have interacted with Team EssaySnark? Yeah.)
Dear Millennials. We have to mention. At present time, in this year of 2017, which is now well into the Twenty-First Century but really not that far from the Twentieth. From now, today, and out into the next oh maybe decade or so at least, it’s still going to be people Older Than You who are running the world. People like GenXers and GenY and a few tenacious Baby Boomers are the ones doing this like, ohidunno, making hiring decisions at top firms. Making admit decisions at top schools. Basically, making decisions that will determine your fate in life.
They will make these decisions based on how you interact with them.
Based on things like your manners.
When you go out to eat and place an order in a restaurant, how do you treat the wait staff? How do you deal with them if they make you wait? How about if they make a mistake on your order?
When you’re walking down the hall at a hotel and you pass one of the housekeeping staff doing a room, do you make eye contact? Smile? Say ‘Good morning’?
Do you treat people like people? Or are they “the help”? Are the junior staff working under you your “underlings”? Or are they your colleagues?
How do you interact with the world?
This may seem like such insignificant advice, but we wanted to draw your attention to it. There’s a tendency among
special snowflakes some people who have seen success in life that they sometimes become a bit blind to behaviors. (In other words: They get a little entitled. Otherwise known as “self absorbed.” Otherwise known as “arrogant” and other forms of annoying.) Certainly not all BSers – in fact, Team EssaySnark reports that most everyone we ever work with is delightful. (Most everyone.) Still, just in case you weren’t aware of how you might come across to people on the other side of the Internet, we thought we’d mention it directly.
Even when you’re in a hurry, there’s always time to craft a full email.
It’s not hard! Only a few more keystrokes! Here’s an example in case this idea has you flummoxed.
“Dear Humanperson. I am in a pickle. I did not plan ahead and now I need your help. Would you please let me know what my options are in this situation?
Thank you so much,
Manners. These things matter. They sure can make us more interested in helping you!
Maybe the world will start to shift to where rapid-fire emails that do away with the useless niceties like “Hello” and “Sincerely” become the norm in business, where everyone just wants you to get to the point goddamit!. Like the little toe, perhaps Salutations and Closings are vestigals and we will one day look back and laugh at how quaint life used to be. We sorta hope not, but it’s possible.
For now, while you Millennials are still working your way up the ladder and trying to earn some respect out there in the world (keyword being “earn”), we’d suggest inserting a little bit of old school manners into your communications. It’s the little things, Brave Supplicant. The little things.
For further reading:
How to write difficult emails (including ones asking for a freebie – some BSers could use this!) http://t.co/OX4Y94IQVH
— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) July 27, 2015