E-Mail: Six Ways to Avoid Slipping on a Banana Peel
There is probably as much literature on the pros and cons of e-mail as there is on the bible. But I haven’t seen much on using e-mail for the wrong reasons. That is why this is worth reading. Marc Brownstein of the Brownstein Group recently published these in Ad Age. He calls them “Six Quick Rules for E-Mail Etiquette.” I call them “Six Ways to Avoid Slipping on a Banana Peel.” Here they are:
Six Quick Rules for E-Mail Etiquette
- Always wait an hour before sending an e-mail when you are upset about the content of a creative brief, or revision to an ad, press release, web design, etc. That applies both internally and to a client. We've all sent emails in the heat of battle and often regretted doing so afterwards. Not worth all of the apologetic e-mails and calls you'll have to make later.
- Be careful not to get too comfortable managing a client relationship via the REPLY and SEND buttons. Get out of your office, get in a car and drive to see your client face to face. Nothing like it. Even in this digital age.
- Ditto for managing people. I'm an admitted Crackberry addict, and find it easier to send an e-mail to my colleague sitting in the office right next to me. When I do, I think, you lazy SOB -- get up and walk next door to talk! The good news is that I have been taking my own advice in recent months. I once heard that Stan Richards (Richards Group, Dallas) doesn't allow ANY internal email. People are actually forced to talk. Imagine that.
- Double check who you are replying to. How many times have you sent an e-mail about a sensitive, confidential issue to someone who was copied on the e-mail inadvertently? Agencies have lost clients by sending careless emails.
- Think twice about your form of communication. Will a phone call get the job done more effectively? Tone and manner simply cannot be properly conveyed on a keyboard.
- Never send ideas that you value in an e-mail in an attempt to present/sell a concept, headline, tagline, etc. Putting it in the editorial environment of an e-mail cheapens creativity, and devalues your idea. If you have to use technology to present an idea, set up a Live Meeting teleconference (it's a great tool, by Microsoft). It enables you to bring a PowerPoint presentation to life remotely, and strengthens your ability to sell-in the idea.