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How I Mocked Comic Sans and Won a Couple of Friends on Email

What’s my usual day at work? Constant information flow and dozens of emails dropping in my inbox every hour. I bet I’m not the only one here and your days look exactly the same, no matter if you’re a project manager, business owner, or marketing professional. This pace and amount of work can lead to troublesome situations.

At Netguru, we have the “CC all the emails” rule applicable at all times, which has its pros and cons like any other. When you get your things done, everyone knows. But when you make fun of someone and don’t focus while editing the recipients’ list - well, everybody finds out as well.

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What do you do when someone happens to read a message s/he was not supposed to get? Stressing out? Never.

Rule number one: We’re humans after all

And being human means making mistakes. Or letting a little cheeky devil speak on your behalf when you see an email written in Comic Sans. Also, letting the little devil speak in your native language when not all people involved in the conversation understand it.

Let’s start from a recipe for an email earthquake:

  • a gloomy December afternoon
  • a group mail in Comic Sans received from one of our dear HubSpot crew
  • temporary lack of focus
  • mocking Comic Sans excluding not enough recipients from the list

Easy as a pie. And you write something about your typography preferences in a bit of an arrogant manner. In Polish. Let me quote myself directly:

Mój Boże. Istnieją jeszcze ludzie, którzy piszą maile w comic sansie?

meaning:

My God. Are there people who still write emails in Comic Sans?

The recipients of this email probably wouldn’t believe if I told them that my Netguru nickname is Unicorn. I have evidence:

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Oh well, I may call myself a unicorn, but remembering I’m just a human helped a lot and led me to the next rule.

Rule number two: Keep calm

Once you find out what happened, you might feel that writing an email is exactly the same as saying things to all those people gathered in one room. In that kind of a situation, I would probably turn red and roll my eyes to the ceiling, wondering why there’s no Tardis around so that I could escape the room and take off about 5 minutes earlier to avoid making this mistake.

But what I Iove about written communication is that it gives you time to think and calm down before panicking. That’s the most important thing to remember: don’t reply before you return to the state of Zen king or queen. Once you’re there, get down to the creative part.

Rule number three: People have sense of humor, too

After my dear colleagues told me on Slack that I sent the unfortunate email to everyone, I had no chance to undo the message. All I could do was wait for a reply and hope the HubSpot crew will be too lazy to translate what I wrote. Well, to my (bad) luck, they are hard-working people willing to understand all the blurb we spam them with. So, Leon, the poor Comic Sans guy, translated it and answered in plain text:

What, you didn’t like my Comic Sans font.

I’m happy to change to whatever you prefer… ;-)

Wow, people have a sense of humor! What a discovery! What a relief!

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Please don’t expect the worst from the people emailing you. You may be surprised with how fun people might be. And they really don’t take such things too seriously.

Rule number four: Just be yourself

Radek, our Head of Growth (aka my team leader) was so kind to reply on my behalf:

Kasia just wanted to prove our team she can hit "reply all" button 121 times a day without any mistake.

She lost.

Thank you, Radek! :)

Well, he didn’t know that I like to handle things all by myself. And so I did.

Generally, I like keeping things simple, so I gathered my thoughts and here came the aha! moment. Noticing the curious little things about people and their behaviors is my daily joy. So I used what I saw. You never know what habit of yours will come in handy at work!

I wrote two emails. The first one was addressed to Leon:

Sorry, I didn't mean to be rude. I see the point, at least you can be sure everybody draws attention to your emails :)

The next one was addressed to Radek:

@Radek I know you hate losing and pretty recently you lost a FIFA match, so I wanted you to feel like a winner today.

I know I took things from the cheeky side again, but… that’s just me. I’m really lucky to work with people who embrace my wicked ways and let me be myself. We all know that’s the most precious thing we can do for each other. Feeling at ease helps you release your best potential in both professional and personal life. You can’t imagine how it helps when solving little mishaps like this, or even more complicated ones.

The reply I got was exactly Radek's style:

BTW we just changed our email stylesheets for the whole Netguru organisation, we are 100% committed to HubSpot way.

What can I say, yet another example of being yourself.

Rule number five: Save yourself from making the same mistake

OK, it was a lesson worth learning. The first thing I did afterwards was setting the “undo send” time for the maximum time available - 30 seconds (my reflexes are far from amazing). This time, the matter seemed petty, but what if I make a more serious mistake next time? Better safe than sorry! Once I protected other people - and myself - from my sarcasm and lack of focus, yet another aha! moment occurred.

Rule number five: Live and let live

The last thing that came to my mind was probably the most valuable one. Why the hell would I mock someone for using the font I found lame? What’s in it for me, and for the other person? People are people, and it’s not my right to tell anyone how they should write their emails, place working equipment on their desks or wear their hair. If you expect people to accept you just the way you are, well, do the same. As simple as that.

P.S. Did you notice I made yet another mistake? Count the paragraphs. Well, nobody's perfect. I hope I'll get all the content in our next newsletter linked right ;)

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