Business Insider recently featured this post: “3 Common Words that Make You Sound Rude in Emails.” The terrible trio?
- Actually—makes you sound like an arrogant know-it-all
- Sorry—overused and possibly insincere
- Me—may indicate that you’re self-centered.
The post, which offers pertinent examples and plausible alternatives for each transgression, is worth a look.
Clearly, the folks at Business Insider are playing in a different league than mine. Let’s pretend that I’m writing an email to the president of my college, Dr. Jay Allen. Just for fun, I’m going to write it using a mash-up of horrors that have arrived in our office during the last two weeks:
hey there, Jay!!!
ive been trying to reach you 4 weeks but u r never in your office. i need to meet with u ASAP cuz i cant find my ppe or my contract and im not sure what im supposed 2 be doing so please call me back right away. i need to see you TODAY! or u can just call me back now
Yes, we definitely should call our students’ hands on this. We should insist on something better not because we are Dr.-High-and-Mighty-Deserving-of-Respect, but because these students will someday want to find and keep jobs. Writing to us, their “bosses” for now, is practice for what lies ahead in their careers.
Our college has decided to focus on soft skills, and that focus may include every encounter with our students, including the first. Your personal style and your relationship with the individual student will direct the way that you approach the matter, but approach it you should.
We’d love to hear your suggestions and strategies.