The brevity of the “texting” phenomenon has summarily killed much of the etiquette, courtesy, and beauty in written communication – and that is NOT a good thing.
One of the beautiful literary classics is “Far from the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy.
The language is beautiful, and I love many of the way Mr Hardy expressed himself in the continuity of ideas and sentences. Mr Hardy wrote his novels as a poet, and the language exudes the poetry that he was known for. That is why this work is a literary classic.
Recently, I commended a young executive on her promotion, and I received a respectful and thoughtful reply from her, thanking me. She deserves her promotion for her dedication, and especially in a people-centric business, for her respectful communication with everyone. I know she will go very far in her career.
Conversely, we received a terse email from a young blogger about her inability to download a file from our archives. It was a single line email, with no salutation, no elaboration of the situation, and no courteous ending.
Both the persons are young. Yet, their manners of communication with others are polarized. One treats others with respect and in turn, receives respect from others. This is expected. Everyone wishes to be treated with respect, and when given respect, would at least try to return a respectful exchange.
If for example, in the scenario of the file that could not be downloaded (I checked, the file downloads perfectly), here might be what I would have said (akin to this effect):
Good morning! Thanks for sharing with me the exciting news about the launch of the new products by your client ABC. I immediately tried to download the files, but for some reason, I could not download the files.
Is there some alternative way I could download the files, or perhaps I might have done something in error that prevented me from downloading the files? Please let me know?
Have a great day ahead, and look forward to hearing from you soon!
My casual observation is that the “texting” generation seems to have done away with much of the beauty of the written communication, which demands an elaboration of thoughts and expressions, a fluidity of sentence construction, and especially, the respectful language to go along with it. It takes effort. It demands clear thinking. It is daunting even, for some. But it will create less miscommunication and less misunderstanding between people.
And sometimes, at least to my own aged perception, presenting as much useful information to someone we engage with, with as clear a presentation and delivery as possible, is our own humble way of showing our respect for another person. And, writing like a poet, isn’t it a beautiful thing?
Dr Seamus Phan is the Head of Content and CTO at McGallen & Bolden. He is an expert in branding, marketing, communication, leadership training, crisis management, and entrepreneurship. This article may appear concurrently on his blog. Connect on LinkedIn. ©1984-2018 Seamus Phan et al. All rights reserved.