Happy New Year! Now, what happened to your manners?

Before we get started, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope you managed to relax and get some downtime over Christmas. My daughter Rebecca was back from London, so I took some time off to spend with her, which included watching movies, a few lunches, drinking wine, and doing her tax return!

I’m excited to get stuck into 2017 – a year which will see us expanding Ashton McGill and the launch of a new venture in Q1. I’ve already done my first speaking gig of the year at Friday’s CMA Kick Off event in Dundee – a fantastic day organised by my friend Chris Marr, with over 70 people attending.

Anyway, onto the first daily blog post of the year….

One thing I’ve noticed happening more often in the past few monthsΒ is the very direct and unfriendly way that people write emails. In most cases, I’m sure they don’t mean to come across this way, however it’s something I’ve got a real bee in my bonnet about. Let me explain.

When you meet someone that you know face to face, you’ll both say something like, “Hey Chris!”, and go on to ask what each other has been up to, maybe enquiry how business is, and so on.

However, when it comes to email – which still remains our primary method of communicating at work – I’m seeing a trend that bothers me.

More and more emails seem to simply start like this –

‘Alasdair, I wonder if…..’.

No Hi, Hello, or Hey! And no ‘small talk’ asking after me. Just straight down to business. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think that’s impolite. For all the time it takes, can’t we say hello to each other, even in an email, and enquiry after each other?

It doesn’t take a lot to do this, but for me as the recipient it makes the world of difference.

What do you think? How do you write your emails? Let me know!

5 thoughts on “Happy New Year! Now, what happened to your manners?

  1. Hi Ali,

    Hope you are well. πŸ˜‰

    I think I’m guilty of this when I am in a rush or being lazy.

    I sometimes lapse into a newer style of ‘messaging behaviour’. I’ll use the type of communication style that has come from using WhatsApp, Slack, Facebook messenger, and twitter DMs.

    For email, or a LinkedIn private message, though, I agree – it’s worth setting out your message like a more traditional letter.

    All the best,



    1. Hehe, thanks Owen! I’m fine with a messaging style, but even then I would never start my message with,”Owen,…. I’d probably say, “Hey!”

      Cheers 😁

  2. Once into a dialogue it’s fine to forget about the civilities I think. Perhaps some of us that were more used to sending and receiving letters should treat it more like a letter? I have to say though that quite a lot of people that should know betteruy are incredibly rude or uneccesarly direct in emails that consider themselves good communicators. I’m thinking of a new years resolution to just return these to sender pointing that out!

    1. Yes, I agree Rod. I’ve noticed that most of the rude emails come from people in the corporate world. I’ve had 3 from bankers just today! I like your New Years resolution Rod 😁

  3. Hey Ali,

    Great post πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» and I agree: manners don’t cost a thing but they make a big difference to communications – and the way I feel about someone I’m working with in general.

    Small talk’s a funny one for me as a woman: a lot of the advice out there for communicating assertively is to drop the common softeners women are more prone to include in their written communications. What do you think about that? How can women business owners communicate assertively but in a friendly way? Do you think the same rules apply to men and women, or do we need tailored approaches for more successful comms?

    Love to get your insights on this…

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