Take the “I Respect Your Time” Pledge

Take the pledge to respect other people’s time and your own time by adding the following to your email signature:

“Think this email is short, brash, rude, and/or lacking tact and decorum? That isn’t my intent. I respect your time so I left out the unnecessary fluff. Want to learn more? Check out http://irespectyourtime.tumblr.com/.”

Or make one of your own and send it to me for posting here.

My Purpose

How many times have you read the introduction to an email and thought, “I bet you don’t actually care how I am.” How many times have you written an email and gone back to add a bunch of pleasantries that you really don’t care about? How many times have you written, reread, rewritten, and wasted numerous minutes making sure your pleasantries were “just right”. I have and I have had enough. Have you had enough too?

The purpose for this tumblelog is to initiate change in the way we communicate through email. It is inspired by a post I recently read by Eric Spiegelman entiled “On the Virtue of Brevity in Email”. You can read it here: http://spiegelman.tumblr.com/post/27082261842/on-the-virtue-of-brevity-in-email

For too long, we have treated email as a form of letter writing, generating excess sentences and paragraphs so that the email was full of an appropriate level of tact and decorum. In the age of Twitter, instant messaging, text messaging, and all of our other staccato like exchanges of text content it is time that we refine email as well.

We need to do away with the long, flowery prose. We need to dispence with the pleasantries, respect the time of the reader, and get on with our message. We need to stop worrying about offending someone when an email is short and lacks the necessary, “Hope you are doing well?” or “How is the wife/kid/dog/hobby?”. We need to get specific, give the reader the concise information they need or the action items to execute. We need to be brief, succinct, and to the point.

Why should we do this? I see two reasons:

  1. We are all busy. Many of us deal with tens if not hundreds of emails each day and the time it takes to read and write these pleasantries, while individually brief, really starts to add up over time. We need to respect each other’s time and get to the point.
  2. When someone actually asks how you are, you will know they actually want to know and they legitimately give a shit about how you are. When you ask someone how they are they will know that you actually care. We can actually work on building real relationships and not maintain wasted lines and wasted time with BS pleasantries that mean nothing to either party.

To make this work we need to keep our messages brief, concise, and to the point. We also need to grow thicker skin and stop trying to read tone and additional meaning into emails from others. We need to accept and promote this new type of email. To do this, I have added a new line to my email signature. It reads:

"Think this email is short, brash, rude, and/or lacking tact and decorum? That isn’t my intent. I respect your time so I left out the unnecessary fluff. Want to learn more? Check out http://irespectyourtime.tumblr.com/.”

Join me in this effort. Save the flowery prose for elsewhere Send me your examples of excessively flowery email pleasantries. I’ll post them here.

Together we can change the world…or at least save each other some time when reading email. You know, time that we can spend writing and reading long blog posts.

(Reblogged from spiegelman)