Respect

I received an email the other day from a family friend and fellow church member. She closed her message with “Very respectfully yours.” That’s not a closing I often (or ever) see in this new century of casual and instant communication, of texts and tweets. Especially from a 20-year-old college sophomore!

It seemed sort of old-fashioned and outdated. But knowing this person, who is well spoken but not stiff or formal, I took “Very respectfully yours” at face value. I believed in its sincerity.

With all the technological tools at our disposal, communication has never been easier. Nor has it ever been harder. There’s just so much of it. The constant noise and buzz are overwhelming. Breaking into people’s communication devices—and then their lives—is a formidable task.

My friend’s email reminded me of something all human beings crave: respect. That’s a good place to start as you think about messages and communication to audiences, large or small. Show respect. Don’t talk at folks or insult their intelligence. Don’t flatter. Be respectful, be real, because they’re real people, not just email addresses or Twitter avatars.

Communicate “Very respectfully yours” even though you won’t use those exact words like so many correspondents once did in typed and handwritten letters. When you show genuine respect for your audiences, they’re more likely to reward you with their attention.

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