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A tale of two emails

A couple of weeks ago, I got two emails within minutes of each other. Both had a similar purpose. The senders needed me to do something for them. I should have done both of these things by the time they'd sent these emails and I hadn't because other things had come up and I'd decided these could wait.

I get a lot of similar emails and occasionally even send a few of these, but the contrast stood out as I read these back-to-back. These aren't easy emails to send or pleasant ones to receive.

In this case, both emails had one very simple goal: get me to do what they wanted as soon as possible. Both emails were sent by folks above my pay grade, and while I would over the next couple of days get to both things, I ended up having very different opinions of the both people after the emails.

Thankfully neither used cliches I'm particularly amused by such as "friendly reminder" :), but one email made me respect the person that sent it even more; the other just annoyed me.

From the point-of-view of the senders, the former email definitely took longer to write and was clearly from a more mature person (it explained why it was important that I do X, some constraints and had a tone that reminded me sometimes that I'm just lucky to get emails from these people.) The other was definitely easier to write, had passive aggressive overtones, and was the work of someone who was either stressed or who just operated in that way (ref: the No-Asshole rule)

The lesson to be learned: that even asking someone to do something for you is an opportunity to gain respect. It takes a little more work, and some practice, but in the longer-run is definitely more valuable to do.


sigje said…
Can you give examples of this? This is something I'm interested in learning the difference in too!

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