A few times a week I get a note from one of our members asking me to stop the newsletter. Although sometimes I do get an explanation of sorts, most times I don’t. All I get is the subject: Unsubscribe.
Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but I am a little offended that someone who has been receiving our free newsletter, usually for several years, can’t take the time to dash off a few lines of thanks and an explanation. Have they decided to retire? Are they no longer working in Finance? Inquiring minds want to know.
I won’t even get into the notes that ask me to stop because they are starting a new job on Monday. You would think they would at least wait until a few paychecks cleared the bank before they stopped their job search. But, at least they sent an explanation.
I think the larger problem is our iPhone/Twitter society has made us inattentive to the value to US of writing cordial and informative correspondence. Personally, I only use my iPhone to RECEIVE email. I rarely use it to write messages. It is just too painful. The small keyboard and the speed at which I can peck out my thoughts make it far too difficult to write an intelligent response.
You would think that the power of email would make it MORE likely that folks would take the time to carefully work out their ideas. Perhaps I will sound like an old person when I say this, but the ability to write and rewrite today is something that I only wish I had early in my career. If you made a mistake or changed your mind about what you wanted to say, it really was a lot of work for you or someone on your staff, so you hesitated to make any corrections.
I’m not sure exactly what has happened in the world or why these great tools we have today to communicate are not used more effectively. I have heard it said that Excel caused the dot.com meltdown because it allowed financial forecasting (or guessing) to take place on a grand scale. In the old days, you actually had to think through each financial spreadsheet because there generally was only time to do it once. In contrast, word processing gives us the capability to get it right the first time by writing, rewriting and rewriting again.
While we adjust to the new environment where everyone has NO time, I would suggest that each of us in our own way give careful consideration to the volume of words we use. It is true that “less is more,” but some minimum amount of words are still required to give the right message.
Take a deep breath before you hit send. Consider if your subject, like your 90-second announcement, gets the big idea across. Then consider your message and ensure it presents enough information so as not to offend the recipient with its brevity.
And, don’t forget to add an outgoing signature. (Sorry. I couldn’t pass that one up.)