Mrs. McVeigh's Manners
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Email Etiquette - Part I

            How formal should you be when you write and send an email to someone? It depends on whom the email is going to, and what your relationship with the person is.  I have heard about employers who are surprised at how casual sounding the emails they get are from potential job applicants.  In this case a very formal email is necessary and it should sound more like a letter.  I would even start with a “Dear Mrs. Smith.”  Also make sure you get the correct spelling of the person’s name.

When corresponding with co-workers, and especially your boss, keep it more formal and professional sounding.  A formal email to someone you know can start out with a “Hi Cindy. How are you?” For the body of the email make sure you have correct grammar and punctuation, and do not use texting or emailing acronyms or expressions.  You can then end the email with something like, “Thank you for your attention to this matter,” and put your name on the next line, like you would a letter.  

            If you are writing an email to a friend then a casual sounding email is fine.  The only warning I would give is to ask the friend if someone else reads her email, especially if it is at his/her work email address. A lot of companies have compliance departments who read employee emails, and will discipline their employees for “inappropriate” emails that they receive. If emailing a friend at home ask if a spouse or children could possibly see what you write.  You don’t want the friend to have to give an interpretation of the email on your behalf.

            Lastly, remember to be careful when replying to emails with more than one recipient.  We all have horror stories of “Reply All” emails that we had a lot of explaining to do.  

Mother's Day

 Mother’s Day is a great tradition that every mom appreciates.  The key to a successful Mother’s Day is making every female in your family, who is a mom, feel like it is her special day.  This can be tough when there are multiple generations of moms in your family.  My first few Mother’s Day my husband and I had to find a way to spend the day the way I wanted to, and how to do this by not offending my mother-in-law.  My mom lives close by, and it was easy to spend time with her.  My in-laws live 45 minutes away, and packing up our babies to make small talk around their house for the day was not my idea of a fun Mother’s Day.  Finding this balance can be tough.

            For all of you dads who have wives to make happy, and moms and grandmothers to feel appreciated, here are some ideas to make the day enjoyable for everyone.  The first solution is to see if you can spend the day with your mom and/or grandmothers on the day or weekend before Mother’s Day.  You can give out flowers, gifts, and/or take them out to lunch or dinner the day you see them, and then call them on the actual day.  If this is not an option, then invite all of the moms in your life out to breakfast or brunch on Mother’s Day.  Give any cards and gifts after you eat, and then you can give your wife the opportunity to spend the rest of the day however she wants to spend it. 

Trying to make it a full day of fun and pampering for your mom or wife?  Ask the mom in your life exactly what she wants to do. It could be a day to her self, breakfast in bed, a day of shopping, a special gift, or a day at the spa.  What sounds fun to you or your children may not be what Mom really likes. Surprises can be great, but asking every mother in your family what is truly important to her will turn out to be her best Mother’s Day yet. 

How to Politely Say NO to Solicitors


            I must confess that I had a brief stint in college as a true solicitor.  I had a job working for AAA cold calling people and trying to get them to sign up for a membership.  I cannot remember how long I lasted, but it must not have been more than one week.  People hang up on you, or tell you never to call again, and overall are pretty darn rude.  It is not pleasant being rejected over the phone, from AAA services, to a friend saying no to a volunteer position that you beg him to take.  As a result when I get a solicitor who calls me, I feel so bad saying no.

            How do you politely get solicitors off of the phone without ruining their evening or making them want to run and quit their job?  I would say let them at least finish a few sentences of their pitch before you graciously cut them off.  After you hear them out, you can then smile and thank them for asking, but nicely refuse the service.  If you tell them you will think about it and to please call later as a way of getting them off of the phone and sparing their feelings, you are not doing them a favor.  Be honest and say thank you for calling, but you are not interested.   Just like when a guy drops you off after a first date and says he will “call you later,” and you think he is really going to call, but actually he says that instead of just “goodbye.”  With a solicitor if you act like you are interested, he really is going to “call you later.”  Being a good listener, and then saying no thank you politely in a pleasant voice is the best way to handle phone solicitors.   

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