Friday 24 January 2020

Mindful moment… Take a class at charm school

'Let the online charm offensive begin'
'Let the online charm offensive begin'

Marianne Power i

The other day, I was having a clear-out of my inbox and found myself reading through old emails. I was horrified by how rude and direct some messages were. Most were lacking in any greetings or sign-off: even a simple 'hello' was skipped. But these weren't messages I was receiving - they were messages I was sending.

Turns out I am very rude on email, without ever meaning to be. Research shows that readers of an email will tend to see the content as more negative than was intended.

So even if you're intending to convey a friendly message, the reader will feel neutral about it, whereas a neutral email will be perceived as negative.

This explains why sometimes the messages I sent, which I thought were just to the point, actually seem hostile.

So now I'm favouring charm over efficiency. Politeness over professionalism. I'm going back to the old-fashioned 'hello, how are you?' approach. I might even go mad and use people's names.

Let the online charm offensive begin!

* Marianne Power is the author of

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