On email etiquette

Lovely seeing you recently by the way, how are the kids? Great, that’s lovely, can you do me a favour?

Is it better to skip past the faux-pleasantries and to save everyone some time?


How are you doing, long no time no speak, how are the kids? That new house you bought? Your family, they’re doing well? The cat? Oh…run over, that’s really sad.

How’s that project whose name I can’t remember with the things and stuff? And the weather?


I’m looking for new opportunities at the moment (Technical Product Management: check-out my Linked-In). I’m speaking to people in my network, including the sleeper-cells I’ve not spoken to in some time.

I’m trying to avoid emails like the ones above. People are busy: even before you open a message from someone you’ve not spoken to in years, the subtext is pretty obvious.

Sure I’ll genuinely say “Hope you are well” but anything else seems insincere.

Am I wrong to skip the dance, get to the point quickly and save everyone some time? Or am I being rude by not playing the game?

2 thoughts on “On email etiquette”

  1. I’ve been told that I’m “refreshingly direct” in my emails, because I don’t do that. So I deduce that the above waffle is

    (a) used by normal people

    (b) hated by normal people

    as well.

  2. It could be just me, but something brief and to the point gives me the impression it’s important and actionable. Something that also expects me to exchange pleasantries can be postponed indefinitely, as my time doesn’t allow for chit chat. Not over email, anyway…

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