Courtesy in Communications

Call me old fashioned or old school.  In my view communication is always between people and people have identities.  During the last few days, I have been in communication with a prospective customer who is inter-state.  We have been discussing things over the phone and via email. Thank god, its not via mobile phone text messages. Why you ask? You will know soon.

Since our initial discussions began and we started exchanging emails, I started noticing one thing. I make it a point to address each email to the actual person(s) involved in the electronic conversation. That is, if I know the person really well, I will commence the email as “Hi John,….  That is, I refer to the person by name as that is what his identity. If I do not the person really well, I will commence the emails as “Dear Mr…”

On the same token, when I receive emails from people known to me, I expect them to address me as a person and not just send the message without addressing the person.  As a business person, when I get sales enquiries, obviously the person contacting me does not know my name and so cannot me address me as such.  I understand that.

However, when I receive emails from people (who know who I am) just focussing on the subject and not taking time to address me as a person, it does bother me a bit. I understand people are busy and may not wish to spend time on common courtesies but when they call people, don’t they normally spend initial few seconds on “Hi John, its Tom here, how ya doin?” even if they couldn’t care less if the other person is doing well or not? If so, then why that shouldn’t that be the case when they respond to emails with common courtesy?

I am not asking them to enquire about my welfare and all that. All I ask is to at least address me by my name. I have an identity and would very much appreciate it if people have the courtesy of using it in their emails to me if they are known to me.

This inter-state client knows my name but he refuses to address it. May be he does this to everyone else as well. But I don’t think it is courteous to just start the email focussing on your own needs rather than acknowledging the fact that there is a person reading at the other end.

People do business with people and not with machines.  May be I am reading too much into this and may be I am old fashioned. But I strongly believe in courtesy and respect for people in whatever position even if the other person is a 5 year old child.

What do you think?

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