Senno ecto gammat

By telleropnul, April 21, 2017

Face-to-face communication is always preferred over electronic or phone communication.  As soon as there is even only the slightest chance of invoking an emotional response you should think twice about using email.  Knowing this, I still find myself occasionally falling short of proper email etiquette.  I sort of wonder if when it says “is a good communicator” it basically means you are either (over)confident to the point of being arrogant, or in a respected senior role in your organization as this appears to be one way of overcoming communications pitfalls.  But I guess it boils down to simply the following:

Senno ecto gammat

‘Never without my permission’

It is considered rude to forward emails without asking for permission first.  We have all seen auto-inserted corporate legal disclaimers in email signatures stating ‘information in this email may be confidential, private’ and ‘if you are not the intended recipient…’ etc.  But have you ever actually asked permission first?  ‘Can I (have your permission to) share this with John in Procurement please?’  Should you actually do this?  The answer seems to be ‘yes’.

Only include others in emails (cc-list or forwarding) if it makes people look good.

It’s a simple as this; people don’t seem to mind as much as long as you make them look capable or -even better- make them look good.

A common faux pas is to include other people halfway through an email conversation out-of-the-blue; especially if it involves a senior manager or team leader. Adding people to the cc list has the same effect as forwarding an email and you may want to think twice whether or not this is deemed appropriate.

Suppose you want to forward an email or include a third person on the cc list of an email.  Suppose it is well-intended.  Suppose you even write a new email from scratch rather than forwarding the original email.  Suppose you even make sure to exclude the original sender’s email at the bottom of your forwarded message.  Suppose you even include the original sender in the cc list as a courtesy.  What could go wrong?

Well… you may still be acting against the intentions of the original sender.  The original sender did not give you permission to forward their email or share with others by adding people to the cc list.  Essentially the original sender is likely offended by you involving a third person in what he or she might consider a conversation between two people.

Things I should have learned by now:

  • Always be respectful of others in your communications.
  • Always use email formally and for business matters only.
  • Do not write lengthy emails.
  • Do not use email if it shows someone in a bad light.
  • Avoid sending emails to more than 1 person at a time.
    i.e. try to only have a single person in the [to] line of an email.
  • Avoid using cc or bcc fields.
  • Do not press the Reply-To-All button.  Ever.
  • Do not make promises when you are happy.  Do not write a reply when you are angry.
  • Do not forward emails without asking permission first, and/or:
  • Do not forward emails unless it makes people look good.
  • Do not add people to the cc field halfway through an email conversation.
  • Avoid including the original sender’s email at the bottom of a forwarded email.