Grandma Short’s Rules of Email: Lessons in Communications

My 85-year old grandmother got an email account this week. That’s right! The mother of 11, grandmother of 40+ and great-grandmother of 20+ thought that her new Yahoo account would help her to keep in touch with her large family that  is now spread throughout the United States. She is officially on-line!

While I realize that she is by no means an early-adopter, I do give her credit for reminding me (and my family) of simple email etiquette guidelines that we, the tech-savvy, have lost somewhere within the wonders of the world-wide web. See Grandma Short’s rules below; these can certainly serve as a reminder in our daily communications with colleagues, associates, clients and friends.

Grandma Short’s Rules of Email:

1)      Don’t make me scroll.

If she has to scroll down, rest assured that she will not be reading it. It’s not that she doesn’t care, she has not gotten the hang of scrolling down the page. So, keep messages short and sweet. It does not have to be as brief as 140 characters, but get to the point.

2)      No forwards without explanation.

She does not understand why you have listed everyone’s emails at the top of your message and in such random patterns. If you want her to read it, remove superfluous information that clutters the message. Also, see Rule #1 regarding scrolling.

3)      Write in proper English.

She is not down with the lingo. “How r u?” and “BTW” does not mean anything to her. Gram has always been a stickler for enunciation, so speak and write clearly. (This is a good time to thank you, Gram, for badgering me so often to “enunciate” that I never did pick up that harsh RI accent.)

4)      Send a message, not a list of questions.

While she loves receiving emails, she does not type a response as quickly as we do and this list is highly-frustrating. If you need that many answers, pick up the phone and call. And, see Rule #1 regarding scrolling.

5)      One link and/or attachment only.

She can handle opening an attached photo and clicking on a direct link, but do not forward her to a website that requires her to sign in/up or download information.

6)      Please select a font I can read.

Cursive, really?! She cannot and hence will not read the message. I cannot agree more. (I will, however, save the 22-point font for messages to Gram as that may be a bit of an overkill for younger eyes.)   

7)      And, lastly… Stay in touch.

She appreciates the frequent communication. Though you may not visit as often as she’d like, she still  wants to know what is keeping you so busy. Keep the information and updates flowing… just make sure not to include too much at a given time.  See Rule #1 regarding scrolling.

Happy e-mailing (and 85th birthday), Gram! Watch out, Facebook!

Posted by: Katie | follow me on Twitter


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