More about e-mail etiquette, heartfelt communication
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Last week’s column on George Churchill’s Golden Rule for forwarding e-mail unto others as you would have others forward e-mail unto you sure drew some great responses.
But first, George contacted me with one further guideline that’s applicable not only to forwards, but to all e-mail: Use helpful subject lines.
“The subject line of the e-mail has to be specifically relevant to the content of the message,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should be descriptive.”
Subject lines that say things like “Just watch,” “Amazing,” and “Awesome” tell the recipient nothing. But subject lines that are specific are not only more likely to tempt the recipient to open a forward, but help immensely in filing it, should the recipient want to save it for future reference, George said. Consider how much more useful the following are: “The Royal Wedding,” “11 Reasons Women Stay Single,” and “How Irish Dancing Started.”
The subject lines of even those magnificent PowerPoint presentations can be tuned up to be more specific than just “Nice photos,” he said; for example: “Old West Photos” and “Africa in Black & White.”
Here, then, are some responses from our other coffee companions:
From Ontario, Thelma Rhynas wrote:
From Bow Island, Alta., Fred Monk, former pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cochrane, wrote:
Then there’s this note from Jim Hillson, pastor of St. Andrew’s United Church in Cochrane:
The importance of talking “face to face” lies at the heart of a response from Sandy Corenblum, of Calgary, my longtime mentor in matters Jewish. She wrote:
Although I appreciated where Sandy was going with this, I replied that, over the years she has been one of my most faithful coffee companions, our interaction has nearly always been by e-mail.
I said that, yes, I agreed that it’s becoming all too easy to substitute technology for face-to-face connections. In defense of e-mail, though, I reminded her that it was through her wise use of e-mail that she had watched over me and helped me become a better human being. “For this I thank you,” I e-mailed her, concluding, “I think you have achieved a good balance.”
And maybe that is the operative principle in all of our high-tech versus face-to-face communication these days: striking a good balance. Thank you, everyone.
© 2011 Warren Harbeck