For centuries, the primary method of long distance communication was the written word. Letters communicated feeling, passion, sincerity, love and even anger and disappointment. Although it was not a century ago, I remember when I first arrived at sleep-away camp and how eager and excited I was to receive a letter from my parents or grandparents. The letters was warm, loving, upbeat and in many cases filled with exciting news from back home.
I never felt those letters were written without emotion. When I was reading them, I could picture my parents or grandparents saying the words. It was almost like they were standing next to me, although they were over a hundred miles away.
These days I get so frustrated at how email communication has become so impersonal. I can’t understand why people write emails to fellow associates and customers that sound so robotic. Some emails never even use the person’s name. It’s almost like saying, “hey you”. Most emails go immediately into a written script without ever asking about how I might feel or how my day is going.
Recently, I tried posting a comment on a Wall Street Journal article that was of interest to me. The comment would not show up on the site. Bloggers and authors want people to comment on their articles because it will facilitate a conversation. Additionally, when a reader takes the time to respond or comment it means they most likely have something important to say or add to the conversation. Since I was having this issue with my comment showing up in response to the article, I emailed the Wall Street Journal and within an hour I received a lovely email response from Demetria. The entire email was warm and inviting. Demetria apologized for the issue and offered her assistance. She gave me her cell number and told me to call her at any time so she could walk me through the process to determine the underlying problem. She made me feel special. She made me feel important. She was welcoming and responsive. I could tell that my pending phone conversation would be pleasant and fruitful…and it was.
If people have been writing letters since the beginning of time and were able to effectively communicate feelings, appreciation and personalization, how can we improve our emails to do the same thing?