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.
PROPER PHONE PROTOCOL
• 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.
PRESCHOOL AND DEBATE MANNERS
• 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!