How to Succeed in E-mail During the Coronavirus Pandemic Without Really Trying

By Kurt Stolz on 26 August 2020
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Have you been tempted to start off an e-mail with a cheery “Hope you are well” or something along those lines in recent months?

Are you afraid of what an actual response might be?

This is the conundrum facing anyone writing an e-mail message in which such greetings and small talk might otherwise have been insignificant.  Not everyone is well, not everyone is even still employed (how many “out-of-office” messages have you gotten after obsessing over an e-mail, only to find an immediate reply that says “As of Date, I am no longer with Spacely Space Sprockets.”?)

All is clearly not well, although few people might type such a reply.  As this story goes to press, there are over 24 million people with the coronavirus across the globe and the death toll is over 825,000.

The difficulty of crafting such an e-mail means that some e-mail messages come off as tone deaf, others as presumptuous, and others as merely awkward.

In the Accura Media Group editorial room, we get hundreds of PR pitches every day from in-house PR managers or external PR firm representatives writing about the latest hotel opening or, more frequently, some kind of coronavirus-themed cum travel-related product or offering.  A quick survey of such missives over the course of a week revealed that over 80% of them failed to take into consideration that 1.) we might be really busy covering a global pandemic and 2.) we might be really busy covering a global pandemic.

We began covering the coronavirus situation (it wasn’t even an epidemic then) in mid January.  All of my colleagues – especially Anna Breuer – who has been responsible for managing in-depth coronavirus pandemic reports five to six days a week since early February – find the work mentally debilitating, but also clearly necessary.   Our online readership has increased 40% since early February and it’s the daily reports that garner the greatest amount of interest.

Indeed, for us, the real news would be a day when the word “coronavirus” or “pandemic” fails to appear in any story that runs in that 24-hour period.

For now, however, I hope all is well and that you and your family have been spared from the ravages of Covid-19.  But I will conclude this column as I conclude my e-mails, based on the suggestion of our editorial director.

Please wear a mask and maintain appropriate distance in public, and yes, wash your hands thoroughly and often.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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