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Email Etiquette – Deciding the correct number of exclamation marks needed to make point


Late one evening as assistant regional manger Cheryl Hicks was frantically typing an email response to her imbecilic underlings, it dawned on her she was unclear how many exclamation points were needed on this occasion. “Normally I would reference my AP style guide, but sometimes when you're pissed off, there is no time to dig these things up. If I didn’t get that particular email out in the heat of the moment, I may have calmed down and been less verbally abusive with the workers, and that would undermine my managerial powers.” Finally settling on bold case type with 5 exclamation marks at the end for emphasis, Cheryl realized there might be a need for a revised etiquette guide specific for management.

“What teachers, stay at home moms, and other unskilled positions don’t understand, is that middle management speaks it’s own language, similar to Dictators or Royalty. The people who cower under us would wander haplessly if it weren’t for our constant and overwhelming presence.” Cheryl said. “We represent the compass for the company. Without our strict management presence, and “gotcha” mentality, this place would see nothing but 40 hours of bathroom breaks, and water cooler banter each week.”   

Cheryl suggests you consider these questions the next time you are writing an email:

 Would you say that in person?

No? That’s okay! In email form, your words will linger longer and cause more stress than if you said it in person. When confronting a coworker with what they did wrong, a well timed email sent while the worker is trying to enjoy dinner with his/her family, will not only interrupt that moment, but will linger all evening as they stew in bed! If you said the same thing in person, it is likely you may have been interrupted, or the underling may have missed half of the words coming from your mouth as they tried frantically to keep up with you!

Are you still red hot?

Good!!! You should always get your email out when you’re angry. Remember, there is no time to cool down, that shows weakness and may give off the appearance that you aren’t watching emails 24/7. Ideally your blood should be pumping as you type, and a loud clicking sound should be audible from outside of your interior office. It is imperative people can hear you mash the keys on your keyboard!! If it is a major confrontation, highlight anything they did wrong in red bold font and follow it with at least four exclamation points!!!!

How important is it?

Remember, nothing is too trivial to point out to your workers. Did they show up 2 minutes late this morning? Let them hear about it!! Did someone take more than 5 minutes of restroom breaks today? Let them hear about it!! Remember, your main function, is to catch people in the act of doing something, and pointing it out to them. If it weren’t for your contributions, these mouth breathers would continue to be a complete and total waste of company payroll!

What if they talk back?

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a conversation can escalate into a full-on fight. Everyone has a trigger that can lead to this! Remember to point out your job title, and use terms like “I wrote my own ticket to get here.” Undermining their education and their determination to succeed, along with pointing out their current state in life will usually break the worker. If things get really heated, you can always point out that you are the one with the new mid-size sedan in the parking lot, and remember your trump card; you can threaten to fire them!!!!