Wednesday, January 17, 2007

E-mail Etiquette and its Impact on Interpersonal Relationships

Over the past couple of days, one of my personal attitudes towards emails again reared its ugly head. My view, okay -- my perception -- is that an e-mail sent “TO:” me is different from an e-mail that is a “CC:” to me. Moreover, I consider an e-mail sent “TO” me almost akin to someone saying something to me. That being said, when I send an e-mail “TO” someone and I never get any kind of reply, I consider it rude on his or her behalf. I timed it – it takes me less than 10 seconds to click on Reply, type “Thanks, Bill,” and click on Send. So when I send someone an e-mail and never get any kind of reply, my brain says to me, I’m not even worth 10 seconds of this individual’s time. Wow, do I feel important! Do I feel special! I really feel close to, and good about, this person!

I found some very interesting and informative Websites that address e-mail etiquette. For example, addresses the question, “Why do you need e-mail etiquette?” and suggests three primary reasons: Professionalism, Efficiency, and Protection from Liability. The site also lists and briefly discusses 32 “most important e-mail etiquette tips.” Under the heading, “E-Mail Etiquette,” accurately warns, “Too many users assume that the minute someone receives an e-mail it, the person will read it. Bad assumption.” And, discusses five categories of good e-mail etiquette: (1) Don't Overquote; (2) Treat E-mail Confidentially; (3) Don’t Dice Up Names; (4) Don’t Blast Messages Around Indiscriminately; and, (5) Think Twice Before Sending HTML Mail.

In my recently published pop psych book, Mom and Dad’s Pearls of Wisdom… You Gotta Love ’Em, I tell of the time I met two, young, twin boys, who were on vacation, fishing with their father. As I was walking past them, I paused, kneeled down, and talked with them briefly. On my way back when I passed the three of them, about twenty minutes later, the father said to me, “My boys really liked meeting you.” I smiled and said, “Good. I enjoyed talking with them as well.” He smiled back, glanced at his sons, and then said to me, “I guess it’s sorta’ like my daddy use’ to say –
You never get a second chance
To make a first impression.

Whether it be in your professional life or your personal life, if making good impressions on others – and having good interpersonal relationships with others – is important to you, then remember: the next time you receive an e-mail from anyone, it may only take you 10 seconds to do it.



Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Hey Dr. Bill...thanks for the comment you left over at my place!

And I always try to make a good first impression. It sometimes drives my family crazy, but I do it anyway. :)

Judith said...

Hey, Dr. Bill!

So glad to find someone who feels the same as I do about e-mail etiquette. I think part of the issue is folks don't care about making a good impression any longer. Maybe check out my site on E-mail Etiquette @

BTW, I used to have a Sporster when I lived in the Chicago area but the traffic got too crazy so I sold it. Now, I've left the rat race and live out in the country in northern Mississippi and I'm getting the "itch" again.

Great Blog! ;-)

At your service,

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Stacy,

Thanks for the Comment -- "Welcome aboard!"

Hey, I say "continue to make good first impressions" (remember: you never get a second chance to make a first impression).

Great hearing from you -- you've made a good first impression!


Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Judith,

Thanks for the shout -- "Welcome aboard!"

Jeez, you raise an interesting point -- regarding caring what others think obout us and making good impressions and interpersonal relationships, maybe people really don't care as much as they use to. Sad if that's the case. At my earliest opportunity I'll for sure check out your E-mail Etiquette site!

BTW -- five years ago, after not motorcycle riding for almort 30 years, I got back into it abd bought a Sportster 1200; it was great around the Beach, but out on the Interstate I felt like John Waynme on a Shetland pony. Thus, a few years ago I bought a new Road King Classic -- in my opinion, it is the king of the road.

Let me know how itchy the itch is getting,


Anonymous said...

Yikes..I'm the worst offender with email I receive. I either don't answer it or I take days to even read it..
I have read though that men often don't say thanks for simple things. We don't ask so much as just tell.
Within the group of people I have worked with or been friends with if someone says "Could you hand me that hammer" and you do there usually isn't any response like "Thanks". It isn't given or expected..
So for me, if someone emailed me and said something like "Nice blog" and don't really expect that they expect a "Thanks"..

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Happy and Blue 2,
You raise an interesting question -- are peoples' expectations of graciousness and appreciation (e.g., ("Thanks") a function of occupation, professionalism or individual perceptions and expectations? Maybe all of the above? I really don't know.
I recall, nonetheless, than when I worked in construction as a well driller's helper, I always said "Thank you" for anything done for me. And that, I believe, was my mother's fault -- she also hassled me with that "Please..." thing as well.
That being said... "Thank you!"

Anonymous said...

You're welcome..
happy and blue 2

Cole Reising said...

WOW - this is a great post! Though I don't mean to sound surprised but its a great reminder! One I just used for responding to an R for a request for more of my book through the snail mail. For some reason I automactically send out thank yous on the net - but through the mail...? I did't even consider it! Yet, of all the places to be more considerate - they actually took the time to read some of my work...? No in the end they didn't want it but... Like I said, thanks for the reminder!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Nicole,

You're welcome, and thanks for sharing the details regarding snail mail (a reminder in and of itself) -- I couldn't agree with you more.

Yeah, I hear ya -- sometime little reminders are helpful. Just writing the Post was a reminder for me!

Thanks again,