Kat's Vintage Corner: Writer's Apologies

I recently had a situation where my way of communicating caused me a lot of distress and some very real problems.  I asked my best friend to read my email's and let me know what she thought.  Boy, was I surprised to hear what she had to say! 
She told me that when I talk to someone, I am very sweet and direct.  But my email communications were less than acceptable.  She told me that my email's came across as harsh, critical, and "screaming" at people.  I was both horrified and full of shame that she found my email's read this way. 
I spent nearly 12 years in the U.S. Military and it definitely affected the way that I dealt with people-both in person and in writings.  When we wrote correspondence in the military, we were taught to be direct, to the point, leave out anything of a personal nature and only include the bare facts. This was also the way we were taught to file complaints, critiques, training evaluations, battle plans, etc.  I had not realized that I had carried my way of military writing into my emails.  I also had not known that in today's technological world, all capitals is seen as screaming at the person on the other end of the email!  When expressing a dissatisfaction or criticism, it came across as harsh and abusive. I never thought about how the reader would receive such a communication. This was a shocking revelation. 
I am working hard on trying to change the tone of my emails by adding in some of the "extras" that I now use in conversation.  I think that this is something we military veterans don't realize is important when we are composing communications via email.  After a lot of deliberation and self examination, I do see a great deal of room for improvement in my email writing skills. It is important to communicate in emails just as one would do in person.  And I believe that this is lost in most military communications. There is an obvious difference, and I needed to recognize this. I needed to include warmth, a bit of a personal touch, and cut out the military mindset of "just the basics". 
Ruby Plaza owners have one basic form of communication with their Customers-and that method is through email.  From time to time we get to speak with Customers on the phone, but generally our correspondence is through the email system.  So we have to make the most of this opportunity to create a good and solid relationship with those Customers.  This is also one way of getting repeat Customers!  The better we create that correspondence, the better our sales relationship will be as well.  And of course, the better our Customers will feel about contacting us with questions, requests, or general information.  I hope that by improving my email skills then my Customer correspondence will be easier, more open, and more conducive to a better sales platform.  I wish that someone had pointed these things out to me much sooner.  I don't think that I would have seen it on my own. That military lifestyle and training runs deep.

In closing, I find myself very grateful that I have a friend that I trust enough and who feels comfortable enough to speak her mind with me.  I am always thankful for her advice and assistance, especially when I am stuck in my "military training" and can't see the way around it.  Everyone can use a friend like this who will give us the plain truth without doubting that it will be received just as it was given.  Maybe this article will help someone else improve their email writing skills and this in turn will help their communications with their Customers. I know that my Customer relationships are already getting better.
Kathryn Atkins
Kats Vintage Korner
Colorado Springs, CO

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