That headline is long.
It’s on purpose.
My emails can be long. Also on purpose.
And no, I wouldn’t punch you in the face, just like I would hope you don’t punch me on the occasion that I send you a lengthier email. Ya know the kind, the ones I call thorough, caring and actually time saving in the long run.
Yet still, I’m going to go ahead and be brave enough to say it even though you might want to punch me for it:
“I’m sick of this “make-your-emails-stupid-short” craze!
Before you fire me or call me “out of touch.” I need you to know something:
I read all the same things you do and I’m just as busy as anyone else I know! I just don’t think it’s a badge of honor.
I follow all the same CEOs, business startup superstars, app developers, consultants, copywriters, bloggers and so on! I really do! I promise. I’ve seen how some executives are so clever, important and hurried that they just use symbols like “$” to mean it’s important.
I’ve heard all the logic. I get it!
I even also love the art of Twitter and crafting short, pithy, sticky sayings. I tweet over 95 short crafted thoughts / week on my current properties and projects (not counting links and such) that aren’t even my own personal account.
I even wrote about the value of short, concise communication here (cause I know there can be need, right or wrong).
I’m no superstar though, or in unbearably high demand, so maybe it’s so different I don’t get it. You could argue that. I doubt it though, and if you argue that, I want to argue this:
You’re also not the philanthropist tycoon you follow, and you’re likely also not as awesome, special, busy or wise as you think – or at least you shouldn’t be that busy!
In fact, what you might be, is simply uncaring and egotistical. I don’t know for sure – I’m just saying there’s a chance!
I know. It’s harsh. However, just consider a couple things for a second:
- You chose to work online and/or in the public, didn’t you?
- You chose to intentionally build an audience, didn’t you?
- You maybe even worked really hard to become the leader you are, right?
- You’ve not known something and/or felt compelled to reach out to someone too, haven’t you?
So why are you surprised when people want to do the most basic of communication with you and get your input? Why are you surprised they want to be thorough with you? Why are you surprised they have stories, just as multi-faceted, dynamic and valuable to them as yours!?
You’re telling me that this is now an inconvenience for you that you just can’t handle!?
You’re telling me that people need to learn to write short emails and just get straight to the point!?
I know some people can be really inconsiderate, selfish and self promotional, ignorant and really crazy long winded in their emails. I’ve had it all!
I’m sure it compounds with status and publicity. Yes.
Yet, could it also be that you are in fact way too busy and driven to accomplish more, and it’s become all about you and not about those you’re helping or interacting with?
Could it be that somewhere along the way you just got to thinking you are way more special than you are? That your time is more valuable than the person’s who spent their time to write out a lengthy email?
They aren’t idiots. They aren’t insignificant.
They are people!
People with hopes, dreams, goals, families and friends! They are people who apparently respect you and your authority, whether positional or truly influential, enough to spend their scarce time to reach out to you.
They desire, or maybe even need, your direction and input. It could possibly even change their lives!
So, let’s have some respect shall we?
Let’s have some kindness.
Let’s remember how to enjoy people!
Enough Negativity, Here’s A Positive Word
As if changing other’s lives isn’t positive enough, let me offer something that could be quite positive for you as well.
I consider the stories of businessmen, authors and influencers from “back in the day.” Back in the day, meaning, back when people didn’t even send emails. They actually had to *gasp* hand-write letters, and hand-shake with people they met with in person.
Yet, they still accomplished many things – possibly more than most of us do today!
Consider C.S. Lewis, who, like many authors of yesteryears, was known for writing letters to his readers and fans. He answered everything, even – or especially – from children, and numerous stories exist of children saving those letters and even growing up to become authors, themselves!
In fact, many of his letters are now published and his wisdom lives on, affecting thousands long after his life is over!
More recently, there’s the likes of Herb Kelleher, the founder and CEO of Southwest Airlines who changed an entire industry. Arguably his strongest leadership quality? He enjoyed people. He genuinely enjoyed them. You still see this impact in the culture of the airline today!
Lastly, this hits home for me for two reasons as well.
1. My business I’ve been running requires me to interview people and writer up their stories multiple times per month. Many of these people are of an older generation, and it’s funny the stark contrast to the young and hip software and tech industry I follow online.
These folks want you to sit and chat in their living room for hours and hours. They then invite you out for dinner all evening. They then follow up with emails, phone calls, photos and more stories.
These are very wealthy, influential, powerful and established people. They just know how to enjoy people because it used to be expected, even if you didn’t want to.
2. Additionally, my father is a long winded man who loves stories. If he used email, it’d be thousands of words long.
Yes, he often gets that sideways hand-rolling that means, “Come on, get to it” but one thing is certain:
Everyone will miss his stories when he’s not around to tell them! We’ll miss his loads of advice and humor. We’ll miss how he makes us feel.
Will you be missed?
Cause nobody is going to remember how “accomplished” you were; if they remember anything, they’ll just remember how you made them feel.
Do you really want that to be: “You have no value to me. How dare you waste my time?”