Have we lost the ability to communicate?
Updated: Jun 14, 2022
In a world where picking up the phone for a chat is no longer the ‘go-to’ way to have a conversation, have we lost the ability to communicate effectively?
Conversations are now more common over email, text, messenger, Teams, IG, DM, WhatsApp… but, where is the rule book?
What is the etiquette when you are using your keyboard to talk?
This became an interesting, lively and passionate conversation in the Itch office last week, so I thought I would put forward our questions to a wider group. Hoping of course you all agree with me.
Is it ok to use ‘text talk’ language in a professional/ work related message to?
“Pls could u” - this was in an email from someone resigning from a position. Even I, who believes the less words the better, was a little perplexed.
Just because you can, does it mean you should?
We see cover letters that are written with what we call “text talk” and I have to say it is a BIG NO from me.
But, am I showing my age? Is it now acceptable? Is this an adaption of the English language? Should I now embrace this?
Is brief the same as blunt?
I sent a group email to a client last week, to reschedule a lunch. Upon receiving said email, (The Boss) said across her computer, ‘I’ve just sent another email to soften your blow’.
“My Blow?” apparently, I’m blunt.
Here’s how the email read:
We could do Thursday 29th at 12pm, Wednesday 4th, Tuesday 10th or Thursday 12th at 12pm - let me know what works.
Thursday the 12th please.
Heads up we are having Itch drinks that night, the invite will be out this week
(If your invite got lost in the mail, feel free to hit us up!)
To me this is completely acceptable. To others - so blunt it needed a follow up email, being all long and wordy, apologetic, lovely and kind.
So, the conversation started.
What was wrong with my reply?
I thanked them, gave a reply to the date and invited them to drinks and said thanks again.
What more can you say? It got quite intense, (in a fun banter kind of way) so I decided I would pick up the phone and ask the client how my email was received (if they didn’t think I was a little crazy before they certainly do now).
The client said it was fine and that they took no offence (but maybe they were too polite to say they thought it was a little rude!)
So then, we then asked other clients that night over drinks. The table was divided.
So it has me thinking, do you really want me to ask how your day is? What you did last night? Or one of my favourites, “Ï hope this email finds you smiling”.
Do I need to end every email with “Ï hope you have a lovely evening” or a polite and joyful comment on the weather?
The following Monday I found myself replying to an email with “I hope you had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather we had on the weekend”. I sincerely hope they did, it was a magnificent weekend, but does it make the (actually relevant) part of my email nicer to read?
Does it build better relationships? Are you looked upon differently if you don’t? Is it just excess words when everyone is trying to be productive?
One of my favourite clients to work with sends me three-liner emails. They don’t even spell my name, they just write A. They ask a question – and sign off with their initials. Bam. Done. I love it! Because really that’s all I need - quick, fast, efficient communication. But do others need more?
I have nearly zero, yep ZERO emails in my inbox on a daily basis. I always get back to people within 24 hours.
A fellow Itch of mine (who I will protect the identity of, but with whom I have many lively conversations about this topics with) will have about 300 emails in their inbox at any one time. They probably get more emails than me on a daily basis, but not that many more.
I believe their haemorrhaging inbox can be attributed to the short novel they draft, for every email reply. They’re so invested in the communication, the emails are usually long, they are re-written (sometimes numerous times) and often has us 4-eyes them before hitting send (not me obviously, I would delete at least 4 paragraphs).
My preference? I am so happy to have a chat on the phone. It’s quick, clear and easy.
So how does the future look for “the art of conversation”? Is text talk acceptable? Do I need to take a creative writing course to up my email game?
Let me know your thoughts.
Hope you all really enjoyed reading this article and are in the loveliest of moods and of course I hope you have a divine evening, full of everything that makes you laugh and smile
Bye for now, cheerio
Sunshine, unicorns, rainbows, stars (emojis) <3 :) :D