Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

No Need to SHOUT IT OUT!

2009-08-02 22:27:34

Do you know what I'm referencing? In email etiquette, using all capital letters is the equivalent of shouting. Depending on the context of the message it can be aggressive or argumentative; overbearing or rude; or just come across as someone annoying.

I was recently involved in an online discussion that developed into a contentious debate. One of the participants in the email discussion (of about five people) used bolded 15 point text and capitalized every other word to try and make her point. She was defensive and accusatory to people that differed in opinion with her, and took her dialogue in the "flame" category.

I have no idea what her age, but her style of communication came across as juvenile and annoying. It is sad that she probably does not realize how incredibly bad an impression she was making on the recruiting community she was addressing. Part of the discussion had to do with networking and job seeking techniques and strategies, and she either forgot or didn't understand one of the cardinal rules: always keep it professional.

Email and other written forms of communication can be tricky. We lose so much of the meaning and context that can be imbued in the spoken word, even the tone of voice over the phone. By using ALL CAPS TO MAKE YOUR POINT, and combining it with nothing but negative observations, it really leaves a bad impression on the reader.

So please, leave the SHOUT in the laundry room.

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Steve Paul: Re: No Need to SHOUT IT OUT!
2009-08-07 13:02:36

Great point. That kind of language undemines itself in other ways as well. It demonstrates that an individual is not in control of their emotions. It demonstrates that the individual isn't listening to other points of view.

The analogy (as you point out in your title) is shouting, and just like shouting, it doesn't work especially well. I'm reminded of my 4 year old neighbor yelling at his dog. The dog heard him when he spoke softly, it simply didn't agree with what my neighbor said. :)

Steve Paul

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