Shirley's Articles / Email Essentials

Don’t Harrass With Your Handheld

Email doesn’t only come to our desks. Many of us now carry email around with us on our mobile phones. This often results in being on call 24 hours a day, every day, even on weekends. Apart from never being free from the demands of work, this also leads to many more challenges.

Messages typed with our thumbs often contain errors and can end up becoming quite terse. You might include a tagline such as ‘Sent from my Blackberry’, thinking that your recipient may be more forgiving of mistakes or brusqueness. But think again. This may not always work.

A friend told me recently that he now does 75 per cent of his emailing through his mobile phone, and that he has adopted a new language for this new medium. Things he would not normally do on his computer, such as abbreviating words or not starting off with a greeting, he is actually doing on his electronic device.

Consider this message that he may have sent if he’d been sitting at his computer:

Hi John

Great to hear from you, I’m glad you can come down to Singapore next week to discuss this exciting project. If you can let me have your proposal within the next couple of days, I can discuss it with our management and send you any urgent questions for consideration before we meet.

Look forward to seeing you,

Now imagine how the message might look if he sent if from his electronic device:

Pls send yr proposal so I can put to mgnt and send you any q’s. Tnks.

(Sent from my Blackberry)

Do you see what I mean about the message becoming abrupt? It could actually ruin the personal rapport that Michael may have built up with his recipient. Such abbreviated messages may also lead to more back and forth emailing to clarify, which may not be necessary it either of them had picked up the phone or it Michael had waited till he could give the message a more considered response.

Bottom line

If you must send an email from you handheld device, take time to give an appropriate and clear response that doesn’t ruin the personal rapport between you and the recipient.

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Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at

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