Would you like to have someone you don’t know (or even know for that matter) stand in your face and shout at you? How would you feel? Humiliated? Embarrassed? Do you consider yourself a polite, kind and well-mannered person? Well, apparently you are not, if you tend to use ASAP in your business emails.
ASAP is one of those over-used acronyms that have been relentlessly finding their way into our business emails. In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, “Time is Money” and if that’s the case, it’s only natural that everything must be done ASAP. So, if we leave the rudeness ASAP implies for just one minute (Don’t you worry…we’ll get back to it soon) and concentrate on business only, overusing ASAP doesn’t really serve our business purposes. Think of your peers, colleagues and of course your customers. How will they be able to differentiate between a real cry for help and just another ASAP, which they would probably disregard, if the email recipient had already gotten used to receiving multiple ASAPs from the sender.
If “ image is everything” to you and your business, ASAP viciously harms it. Especially if your job involves doing business with a variety of cultures, stop with the ASAP already, ok? Many cultures around the world understand (just like you) the nature of every business, which is, keeping the “business ball” rolling and getting the job done. So why tell me something I already know? Why create a bad image for yourself (and your company, of course) by making these poor and intentional cross-cultural communication glitches? Isn’t your image important to you?
If you really feel like using ASAP, here is a good one for you. Use ASAP only when you (the sender) take ownership of a certain action item rather than just create one for the recipient. For example: “I promise to get back to you with an answer ASAP”. But don’t forget – a promise is a promise and promises must be kept. You have promised to get back to someone and/or do something ASAP, go straight to your Outlook/Gmail calendar and set an action item, reminding yourself to get back to the recipient with an answer. Now, the million dollar question is when? ASAP is neither considered a few weeks or a month…ASAP talks about hours, a few days, but no longer than that.
I hope that now, after reading this post, you will join hands and help our business email community become ASAP free.