This Facebook post elicited such fire that it deserves it’s own blog post. I posted this to my personal page and in two interior design groups and wow, the responses were LIT!!!
I feel compelled to share this because this email really irks me. A student reached out to me via houzz because she wanted to interview me via email about a career in interior design which I agreed to and I admit it was my bad that I totally forgot to respond. But, this is the email that I received just a few minutes ago. Notice the language that’s being used. Am I still “down with answering” WTH what am I your homie? You don’t know me. You want professional advice from me and this is how you speak? I am appalled at the lack of professionalism and really want to respond with exactly that. I am totally for helping people and mentoring and answering questions but when you don’t have even the slightest idea how to conduct yourself in a professional manner… Bye!! By the way the email with all the questions didn’t even have an intro, greeting, nothing! just an email with a laundry list of questions. I’m thinking I’m not available. Parents, please teach your millennial children to be better than this.
Keep in mind I was not looking for support, I was just venting but damn…I got everything from millenials being offended as being called out (that’s not the point) to you should take them under your wing and mentor them to it’s not your placed to dole out parental advice and who cares, this is how kids speak, and the list goes on. It clearly hit a sore spot and I want to address it via FB Live tomorrow.
So, here was my response to the young lady. Note it’s been 2 hours since I emailed her and to no one’s surprise, I have not received a response. I would have been very impressed if she actually did respond and would have probably gone the extra mile to help her out but as suspected, she probably got offended and probably called me a bunch of names and is choosing to ignore me.
Hi Jade. My apologies for not responding sooner. It completely slipped my mind. After reading your reminder email, I feel compelled to help you on another level by providing you with honest feedback about your approach. As a business professional, an entrepreneur and a mother of a teenage daughter myself, I feel that this would be more helpful than any other questions I can answer regarding the interior design profession.
Perhaps you’re inexperienced with how to interact with adults, especially in a professional setting but that’s not an excuse to not exercise proper etiquette and manners in all situations. Please accept this as constructive feedback because how we present ourselves before anyone ever meets us paints a preconceived idea of who we are. This is a reality. I hope you choose to listen with an open mind and accept it as a part of an overall learning experience.
When reaching out to people, and in particular, people you do not know, GREET THEM. Avoid speaking to them as if they are your friends or peers because they are NOT. Addressing folks with “Hey” or by their first name when you don’t know them is not appropriate. Hello or Hi, is a better choice. I’m not a formal person and I am well aware that we live in a much more casual society today, BUT addressing someone you don’t know personally as Ms, Mr, First name or Last Name is a much better choice than just their first name. When you do not have a relationship with someone, you haven’t quite earned the right to address them by just their first name.
Also, I’m “down” with the lingo, but asking if “I’m still down with answering your questions” is not a professional way to ask a question. How about “Are you still available to respond to my interview questions?” Much better way to express the same thought. Also, when you sent your interview questions, you did not greet me, thank me for taking the time to assist you, etc. You sent an email with a list of questions. Remember, you are asking for a favor. Here’s a better approach that you may want to adopt going forward.
Dear Ms. Alice,
This is XXX. I reached out to you via Houzz regarding my interest in the Interior Design industry. Thank you so much for agreeing to assist me with my school project. Below are some questions that would help me learn about Interior Design as a career. My project is due on XX date. Your help is appreciated.
Do you see how much more polished and well received that would be? So…here’s what I propose. If you would still like to interview me, I suggest we do this LIVE, on the phone. Send me a reply to this email and I will provide you with a phone number to call and we can do the interview this afternoon. I want you to complete your project and learn in the process.
Looking forward to your response,
So, what is the real issue here? Communication skills! Not knowing how to distinguish between casual speak with your friends versus professional communications for business. We live in a very casual society where everyone feels the need to express how they feel without filter and that is part of the problem OR on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who are so politically correct that they can’t think for themselves for fear of offending anyone. With digital communications and social media dominating how we interact daily, people forget how to correspond with professional language. If you are interested in this topic, let’s talk about it more tomorrow on FB Live. This should be interesting.