Put On Your Listening Ears (Or, “Emails that Make Me Insane”)

As those of you who are Judge Judy fans know (and if you’re not yet one, I recommend you become one post haste—she’s hilarious and clear), plaintiffs and defendants alike are often asked to “Put on your listening ears.”

Why do I find this hilarious? For the same reason I hope you do: because it’s something we all long to ask of others, but few of us have the nerve. 

In addition to gifting you with this phrase, I also want to remind you– as I have been reminding myself—that ‘listening’ is something we need to do in both in-person and electronic situations. 

What brought this up for me?

Well, as anyone who has access to social media knows, I was on vacation last week. And while the majority of the world recognized this and worked around it, I was startled to receive several emails along the lines of, “I hope you’re having fun on vacation but I need….”

Um, I was on vacation. Put on your virtual listening ears. 

What other types of email make me insane? Let’s begin with anything that includes the word:

Please, before you use this, ask yourself, “Is this as urgent to the receiver as it is to me?” If it’s not, dial it down.

“Just so I don’t forget/Please remind me”
If you need to make a note to yourself to remind someone of something, feel free. But don’t put it in their in box to get it out of yours.

“I know you’re out sick but…”
Um, yes. I’m out sick. Like “I know you’re on vacation,” this one’s going to get my dander up.

In every case, “listening” to make sure you demonstrate respect for others’ time and energy will ensure your good standing in the court of public opinion.

Frances Cole Jones