Archive for the ‘Netiquette’ Category

Everything you need to know about cancelling appointments and responding to cancellations

January 7, 2008 by Jared Goralnick

In this post I’ll offer advice both on how to cancel an appointment and how to show that you respect your own time when people cancel on you. In this world of instant electronic gratification and RSVP’s with “Maybe” categories, etiquette sometimes slips by the wayside. This advice is designed to facilitate better use of your time and demonstrate that you care about the person you’re meeting with.


First of all, don’t cancel an appointment unless you really have to. Do you think of yourself as someone who sticks to their word…as someone who people can count on? Then don’t cancel on people unless you’re sick or out of town. And if you’re out of town, let them know the minute you find out about the trip. If you must cancel because you’ve got some “big client meeting,” then it had better be a week in advance or more.

If you must cancel, here’s how to do it:

  1. Apologize and make a comment about how you respect their time
  2. If you have a DAMN GOOD REASON (a funeral, you’re deathly ill, etc) mention it. Otherwise, don’t mention any reason at all. Don’t ever say that you have to do something more important like a big client meeting–that’s adding insult to injury
  3. If at all possible, suggest that you meet at their office or some place closer to them than the original appointment
  4. Offer possible dates for rescheduling in the same email; don’t let time go by before expressing that you want to get together

Here’s a skeleton message that’s both apologetic and to the point. It also will serve to minimize the amount of back and forth by being very clear about available dates: Continue reading…

Five tips for how to process email without being a jerk

December 4, 2007 by Jared Goralnick

The only thing less productive than reading an email three separate times and not responding is misreading the message and responding right away. Some people come off either illiterate or disrespectful with their correspondence. Worse yet, I think it’s because they’re attempting to be productive and responsive–but both of those aims are best achieved when doing something right the first time–which both saves you time and is more professional. Working faster is not the only goal.

I ran into an old acquaintance at a business function who suggested getting together. In each email correspondence he missed something I said earlier in the message thread, forcing me to repeat myself and him to respond to many more emails. The worst part: though we both restated the date numerous times in the message, he showed up on the wrong day. When I notified him on the day-of our meeting (which was a week later) he had to cancel because he never realized that he was at fault all along and at that point didn’t have the date available. It was both a laughable taste of his own medicine and doubly frustrating for me.

This is not the first time something like this has occurred (I have so many more stories, and I’m sure you do, too). So here’s my advice, with a smattering of both productivity tips and etiquette: Continue reading…

Over-communication is Underrated

July 12, 2007 by Jared Goralnick

If you’re unsure whether you should let someone know, you probably should:

  • If someone requests something of you (that takes more than a few minutes), confirm it. Let them know when to expect its completion or what will happen next
  • If you’re working hard on a project for someone and run into snags, let them know your situation
  • If you can’t meet a deadline, speak up

Everyone’s busy, and we all have too many emails. But working with people shouldn’t be a mysterious process–if people are waiting for you, let them know what’s up. If you think that things are taking longer than you expected, chances are that those depending on you are wondering what’s going on, too.

I’m no rocket scientist here, and you may think that this is patently obvious. But why is it that clients get frustrated, projects delayed, and heck, relationships of all sorts fail–it’s from a lack of communication. Not just quality of communication, but its quantity–people often just don’t think an update is necessary. But when it comes to business, it is almost always helpful. Let me offer you a common situation and explain how communication would have helped.

Situation: on a development project, there were things that hadn’t been accounted for (maybe it was the client’s fault, maybe the developer’s, etc.) and the project would thus take a contractor many days of a few hours’ work instead of one day of a few hours’ work

Some reasons for communication: Continue reading…