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Turn Off The Auto-Pilot

I recently started working with a new vendor partner on a project.  The first email reply I received from her concluded with a cheery “You rock!”  Well, my head swelled, I sat up straighter, and I patted myself on the back.  She must have really liked my proposal and plan. I was pumped!

In subsequent communications, the “You rock!” kept coming as her email salutation.  And it appeared in her replies to our fellow colleagues.  I felt deflated and even rolled my eyes a bit when I was told that I rocked at the end of a tense exchange when the project encountered some obstacles.

You guessed it.  In addition to employing an automatic email signature, she had attached an automatic closing to every single email—an autopilot “Cheers,” “Best regards,” “You rock!” A lot of professionals seem to be doing that these days in the name of efficiency or to brand their communications.

And you can probably guess that I think it’s a bad idea.  Take the few seconds in your communications (even email!) to close out your message appropriately and thoughtfully.  Make sure that your closing matches the tone of the communication, and that your audience feels special.  Taking off the auto-pilot makes you a better communicator, a better listener—a better business person.


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