Manners apply to everyone — even candidates

As luck would have it, I happened to be working on a little sumthin’ sumthin’ at my day job this week as it relates to email and telephone decorum.

Given our status of not being able to touch the other humans with a 10-foot pole these days, it seemed only fitting to shoot off a few reminders about how to co-speak professionally, respectfully and, well, just, well, in a nutshell.

Just your standard, regular old, what-we-oughta-be-doin’-as-a-rule-anyway kind of stuff. The fine art of essence expression, as it were.

Things such as:



• Include a clear subject matter;

• Use proper grammar always;

• Always use an appropriate / professional greeting and a signature block;

• Never send an email generated out of emotion. Write, but do not send it. Wait 24 hours then re-read and edit before hitting send;

• Be wary of using humor or colloquialisms — they are easily misinterpreted;

• Consider the purpose of your email — does it NEED to be sent?

• It’s rarely useful / practical to REPLY ALL. Unless you’re a corporate communicator announcing a teamwide message, don’t REPLY ALL;

• Follow up in person when possible and appropriate. Answer all email within 24 hours unless you are out of the office or otherwise unavailable.


• Speak clearly;

• Use your normal tone of voice;

• Do NOT eat or drink while on phone duty;

• Do NOT use slang or poor language / grammar;

• Address the caller properly and respectfully;

• Actively LISTEN (silently!) to understand the caller’s key message or concern;

• Always be patient and helpful;

• Make sure your voice is smiling!

Now at this writing, the second presidential debacle — oops, I mean debate — has yet to catch on fire. I’m sorry, again. I meant, transpire.

I’d love to fax, text, email, phone-in, smoke signal or otherwise shoot up a flare of my little decency reminders to President Trump and Vice President Biden. Seriously. Like, for reals.

But I don’t know that either side would welcome my talking points. In fact, I am fairly certain I’d have more luck getting preschoolers to adhere to them than these two — and I’m going WAY, WAY out on a structurally unsound limb here — gentlemen.

So I did a little digging and found the following Pre-K Classroom Rules that I think are equally applicable to very small children just learning about life and very cranky old men vying to become the leader of the free pandemic world.


• Keep your hands to yourself. Indeed, 6 feet is not nearly far enough apart for this cantankerous couple;

• Cover your cough. Better still, maybe hold the entire event with masks on? That way, they’d spend the whole time going, “What did he say?”

• Be kind to each other. “Shut up.” “You’re stupid.” “He’s a clown.” Now, these are “no-no” words. Got it, mister?

• Listen to the teacher and take turns. To be clear, this doesn’t mean scream louder than your neighbor;

• Use your inside voice. What did I JUST say???

Even though I don’t know how it went — because it hadn’t happened yet when I wrote this — I can take a wild guess that there were no bumped fists or air kisses, capisce?

For the last time, you two, knock it off or you’re both headed to the corner … on a carpet square and seated crisscross applesauce.

Good luck campaigning in the pretzel position, Grumpy Guses!


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