I took notice of some of my e-mail conversations the other day and they struck me as odd. There were many examples of e-mail chains in my system that went back and forth many times. Typical stuff. You ask me a question, I respond, you look for more detail, I provide, you thank me, and I say something smart-assed.
The thing that stood out for me was the repeated salutations and closings. Every single e-mail addition that I composed included the “Hey Bob,” at the beginning and the “-Marcus” at the end. The return responses were just the same: headed with “Marcus,” and signed as “Bob”.
If I left off the greetings and signings, what would be going through Bob’s head? Bob would read my follow-on comments and think to himself, “Oh dear, was this response intended for my eyes? I’m lost. And who wrote this? It’s not signed by anyone. I think I’ve been hacked and probably have a virus now. I’m going to be fired. Now I can’t provide for my family. Oh woe is me. This is the worst day of my life.”
Probably didn’t play out like that.
What if we carried that e-mail style of conversing into our speaking conversations? Marcus sees Bob at the auto parts store.
“Hey Bob, How have you been? Marcus”
“Marcus, I’ve been good. What are you here for? Bob”
“Bob, I need an oil filter. What brand do you typically use? Thanks, Marcus”
“Marcus, I use a generic brand. I haven’t had any problems with them. Sincerely, Bob”
“Cool. I’ll try that.”
Then Bob has this odd look on his face. “Are you talking to me? And who the hell are you anyway?”