It’s enough trying to keep up to date with the news in these bewildering times, whilst also managing overwhelm, without the excessive comms from every Tom, Dick and Harry I’ve ever had contact with in a personal or work capacity in the past 10 years. Or so it seems. I’ve had emails (personal) from two different theatres I visited in Sydney back in 2009 or 2010. I’ve not had any communication from either theatre in the intervening years. The first came last week, telling me they were going the extra mile with cleaning and the show must go on. Then the other, a few days ago, from a different theatre telling me their season was cancelled and could they please keep my ticket money in order to survive. They’ve really dug into the archives of their data to grab my details. I should not have been on the list for either of these two emails, in my opinion. But that was just the start…
I really appreciated the most excellent personal email from the CEO of my favoured supermarket (long time customer, and weekly home delivery user). It was direct, honest, measured and told people to calm the chuff down and stop panic buying. Reader, welcome as this was – the approach did not work. And still no home delivery slots for the foreseeable to loyal customers or any customers actually, hey ho, we’re all in the same boat.
To my work email I got a flurry of newsletters – usually chatty, informative and on a theme. Not these. They were all along the lines of – normal service has been disrupted, be well, look after each other. They gave me joy.
Then, came the batch of charity emails (to work and personal). The theme of them all was along the lines of ‘times are hard, we still need your support’. No, no, no. Misjudged and plain wrong. Only the very rich and a handful of others (handful of professions) will come out of this unscathed financially (in my opinion). Yes, charities rely on public donations but for pity’s sake – time/place/tone!
We really are in unprecedented and utterly bewildering times. It’s fast-moving and there are people that need to be kept informed across the board about a whole host of issues – some, clearly more important than others.
I’ve had some truly excellent comms and I’ve emailed back to each one in that category to say so. For example, the RSPB one had a few lines about the importance of time in nature, and informed me their car parks would be free, cheers. And Friends of the Earth got theirs just right with organisational updates plus plans for the future and a very human person to person tone.
I’ve had some bonkers stuff too. I have literally no idea why my car break down service sent me a text which had nowt to do with anything current. The email from the management company of my apartment building was like war and peace and needed a heavy edit. I wasn’t remotely worried about my animals until the vet sent me a text telling me what to do if I was. My pet insurers thought to send me a lengthy email telling me my pets were still covered, OK!? I raged* at a sales email to do with IT services which also recommended everyone stock up on 30 days of supplies. *by which I mean I sent a couple of lines back to them about scaremongering nonsense
It’s hard to get this right and mistakes will be made. The normal rules apply though, with extra caveats. Why do you need to email people? What is the key point or points? Where can they go for more information? How can they get in touch with you? (No reply emails are one of my pet hates). Be clear and concise, to the point and practical. Avoid the waffle, the crass, the jokes and the irresponsible. Be helpful. Check your tone. We really are all in this together and it’s worth having front and centre that the recipient of the email is likely to be worried about something, or many somethings. Your business/organisation/issue may be top of the list or not even on the list.
As an aside I highly recommend tuning into your local BBC radio station. They are always excellent but have stepped up to the plate with their fact based local information, plus local good news and support, and of course great music. I also recommend you check out your local library. You can download ebooks and audiobooks if you are stuck at home, or in the event that they too shut up shop for a while.
Be well. We’re all in this together, for the foreseeable.