In business and in life in general, there is such a thing as communication etiquette. Whether you’re talking to a business partner, client or just a friend. It’s never so much a matter of what you say as it is how you say it. Or in most cases type it…
In the modern world it has become less and less popular to communicate face to face. Considerably more personal and business communiqué is done via email, direct messaging, posting on ‘walls’ and so on. And this type of communication has also never been more publicly accessible than it is today.
It’s ridiculously easy to screenshot a conversation and send it to someone else, forward an email or share a post, therefore you have to be way more careful of the things you say than ever before. Email and any type of electronic communication etiquette is something exceptional especially when it comes to business.
Think about the countless emails you’ve received from a boss or co-worker and instantly you knew you were getting scolded, that the person on the sending end is being extremely rude, or that there is something very wrong with them…
Which gets me started with my cringeworthy story.
Yes, I did it… The cardinal sin, I drank on the job – Double Facepalm!
Probably one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made.
So here we go; If you’re anything like me, you enjoy a glass of wine, a beer or a solid whiskey on the rocks in the evening to destress after a long day’s work.
Now as an entrepreneur you know you will most certainly be working exceptionally long hours, late nights and most weekends if not every weekend.
So there I was, night after night, chugging back drinks, while answering sometimes very important work related emails, with all sorts of people, from my team, freelancers to clients and contractors alike.
I can recall one evening as I was typing away like a well oiled machine, thinking; “damn! I’ve got this, look at me being productive and getting things done.”
But what I thought was innocent and constructive at the time, was actually harming my business. More often than not, the day after these emails, I would get phone calls of unhappy customers saying I was rude and inconsiderate or clients saying I was unrealistic in my requests, not solving their issues and so on.
I couldn’t understand what the problem was as I thought I had dealt with their requests and projects or concerns quite diligently in my responses the evening before.
And then it hit me, I needed to look at my communication with fresh eyes, so I did some digging, and went through a string of emails from evenings I was working from home.
Let me tell you, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe some of the things I said, my lack of consideration for others and just how bad the spelling, grammar, and the content truly was. Atrocious is the only suitable word that comes to mind.
It was really bad, and what makes it worse, is that at the time, I thought I was spot on, pure genius. Boy was I misguided!
The consequence as you can imagine is that I not only disappointed these people, but I lost their trust and respect, and it has taken me years to rebuild these relationships and gain their trust back.
The bottom line is that when you consume alcohol, in any quantity, it impairs your moral compass not to mention your ability to make good judgement calls. It’s a recipe for disaster.
So, in conclusion, never, ever sacrifice professionalism and your integrity for anything not even a delicious night cap. Absolutely stick to doing business when you’re sober.
I’ll leave you with yet another tidbit of valuable insight my mother once gave me: Be careful what you commit to on paper. Yet again, mom proved to be right!
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