email anti-patterns

Email is the tool we use every day. It’s the basic communication medium for preparing for the con I’m running. Nothing would run without it, even face to face meetings are announced and scheduled over email. So why is it so damn hard?

Yes that’s a rhetorical question. It’s hard because email cuts out so many cues to the response we’re getting on the other side of the email. And at this point, 35 days or so before the event., it’s hard because we’re all in a hurry. We start to cut corners and respond too fast and before you know it, misunderstanding multiply.

Two particular instances of emall anti-patterns:
1. The more upset you are, the faster you write back.

It’s rare for responding to an email full of whitehot indignation to improve anything, though it may make you feel better at the time. Sometimes the right thing to do is to find a third party to hear your side, and then get back to just writing the simplest answer possible. Sometimes pushing back from the keyboard and taking a walk is the right call.

2. You are so important that even people you haven’t met yet know all about you.

When writing for the first time to someone you don’t know, introduce yourself. Even if you’ve been around the organization for a long time, new people don’t necessarily know who you are or what your responsibilities are. Saves all kinds of questions like “who are you and why are you making demands of me? ”