Waiting for that Email to Arrive

Email world by Geralt CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay
There are occa­sions when we seem to wait for­ev­er for some­one else to do some­thing. There are times when they are wait­ing for us to do things. Truth is we each have our own pri­or­i­ties and needs. One man’s emer­gency is anoth­er person’s low pri­or­i­ty task. As if both are not on the same page. They aren’t.

The Wait for Email

Email envelopeWhether its you or I, we need that email to take the next step in the things we are work­ing on. 
      Forty years ago we would have wait­ed for that let­ter. Such is the change in soci­ety that today more is done by email than let­ter. The needs met are prob­a­bly the same, it is just per­formed at a dif­fer­ent pace. Or is it sim­ply per­ceived to oper­ate at a dif­fer­ent pace?
      For some peo­ple the email and its deliv­ery mech­a­nism (e.g. the smart-phone) means they are avail­able between wak­ing up and going to sleep to respond to prob­lems, pan­ics etc. They make them­selves avail­able when rest is more appro­pri­ate. This has its pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive points. Most busi­ness execs have their smart-phone with them 24*7*365. It was the trap I fell into. I spent too much time respond­ing to issues late at night and today ques­tion the wis­dom of this need for con­tin­u­ous con­nec­tiv­i­ty in order for busi­ness to succeed.


In many respects I would pre­fer to wait and obtain a full answer, sen­si­ble writ­ten, rather than receive half guess­es or tired answers sent at 2am. I say this con­scious that I have made many such errors dur­ing my life.
Yet email is today a very impor­tant part of everyone’s lives. We can’t live with­out it. Cer­tain­ly, some peo­ple are addicts, as they are with mes­sag­ing and social media. 
The smart phone has become the prime source of bad gram­mar asso­ci­at­ed with emails. One for­mer col­league used to excuse his errors on his big thumbs. Most of his errors were when using the Black­ber­ry. There is an ele­ment of truth here because of the lim­it­ed size of the key­board. Yet, there are plen­ty of peo­ple, who reg­u­lar­ly send emails con­tain­ing errors, even when they use nor­mal key­boards. Part of the prob­lem is the desire to respond quickly.

Checking and Editing?


ImageWhen writ­ing an email I do remem­ber my grand­moth­er talk­ing to me as a child about a let­ter I wrote her. It con­tained sev­er­al errors. She was Ger­man-born and as is cer­tain­ly true Ger­mans are stick­lers for cor­rect use of gram­mar. I remem­ber say­ing it was only a let­ter. Her response — it was more impor­tant to get let­ters cor­rect than any­thing else.

We were encour­aged to use our imag­i­na­tion to tell her some­thing we were doing and show a lit­tle pride in our hand­writ­ing. Of course the one thing you can­not eas­i­ly edit is your hand­writ­ing. You can write a first draft and edit that, but the final piece, needs to be perfect.

In truth we allow our­selves to use slop­py con­struc­tion when writ­ing emails. Per­haps, because peo­ple pro­duce them in haste. Maybe, there is a feel­ing that email is a less for­mal means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. This means peo­ple check it less than they ever did when writ­ing let­ters (espe­cial­ly those notes writ­ten to close friends and fam­i­ly). A bad mis­take to make.


Impact of our Words 

In the recent past I have done a lot of think­ing about the impact of our words and the need for good and pre­cise use of lan­guage. There is every rea­son we should take as much care with the lan­guage we use in emails as for that we use when fac­ing a job inter­view. We should always aim to put our best foot for­ward when we write for oth­er peo­ple to read. WHether they are close friends, busi­ness col­leagues, or peo­ple we have nev­er met the same rule should apply.
Of course we will make mis­takes, but they should be rare, rather than what we nor­mal­ly expect with email — it is time to stop being slop­py. It is best to take a lit­tle time and get the words and sen­tences right.

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Image Credits

The images used for this mate­r­i­al were obtained from:

  • Email in enve­lope by MightyMer­chant eCom­merce Blog
  • Sam­sung Galaxy Note 4 by Geek​.com

About Peter Giblett

Peter, a for­mer busi­ness exec­u­tive, has writ­ten on many web­sites about a vari­ety of sub­jects espe­cial­ly about writ­ing and the use of the Eng­lish lan­guage. One chal­lenge we must all face is about improve­ment and that is the rea­son behind the cre­ation of this Blog — to chal­lenge every­one with their use of the Eng­lish lan­guage through its every­day usage.
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