What does your email style say about you?

cat phoneDelivering a point in person is quite different from saying something on email.  I’ve known people be enraged on reading a communication from a much loved colleague because their normal smiley manner of delivering a terse comment is missing from the written word.

The opposite can of course also be true.  Do you find yourself automatically apologising for having a difference of opinion or daring to ask a question.

“Do you regularly use the words “just,” “sorry,” and “I think” in your emails? You may be undermining yourself and the message you’re trying to send.”  Well now, of course, there’s a digital tool for either circumstance.

Cyrus Innovation have built a plug in for Gmail that highlights “sorrys”, “I thinks” and “I’m not an expert but” on draft emails.  CEO, Tami Reiss was prompted by debate about women and their tone of voice in the workplace.  She says:” We had all inadvertently fallen prey to a cultural communication pattern that undermined our ideas. As entrepreneurial women, we run businesses and lead teams — why aren’t we writing with the confidence of their positions?”   This is far from exclusively a gender issue however. In fact, sorry, but self-deprecation and apologetic tones may be an issue of national stereotypes, a dim echo of Bertie Wooster saying “Sorry, old chap” without meaning to be apologetic at all.  Clearly flexibility and being above all conscious of how you might come across in email is crucial.

In the thousands of emails that flow through the system you can be enraged, entertained or appalled in all kinds of ways.  Hate emoticons? Love them? Think they belong to teenagers?  Think “How are you” at the beginning of an email is wasting time?  Can’t stand people who give you one word answers without acknowledging you as a person?

The Crystal Email Assistant analyses people’s personalities and tells you how to write them a convincing email suggesting for instance that you “appeal to her feelings” or “send lots of information” or alternatively “no more than 3 sentences required”.

People form a view about you from your email.  So do businesses and marketers of course.  Yahoo’s Jeff Bonforte believes that email will get more “intimate”, and connect us even more emotionally.  As it does of course it will be able to reveal more and more about us. The data that can be understood from the billions of emails flowing through the system will be one of the best sources of information that can continue to help business with more precise targeting, appropriate messaging and indeed forecasting.  Over 100 billion emails are sent every day.  Insight from this vast swathe of information might be a controversial issue (though data is anonymous), but will also be fascinating.  Apparently for instance you can better predict the weather in New York by what emails say about needing an umbrella that day than the weather forecasts can.  Attitudes to risk, fun, love and shopping will all be evident. Understanding and emotional insight, from millions of emails.  All the better for insurers, retailers, marketers, creative briefs, programmatic and return on investment.

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