On London, Rome, and saying “hot” in business emails

I’m having what I’ll call a “jet-lag organic” morning, which is to say that my sleep cycle is pretty disrupted from 12 days in Europe last week so I woke up very early and have been lazily browsing through email and things online for a few hours.

Chris Brogan who I follow on Twitter just published what I think is the best of several recent pieces on social media. (If you haven’t heard the term social media before it just means all the online conversations about life, business, politics, products, parenting etc. that new-ish tools have enabled in the past couple of years. And the interesting consequences of those conversations.)

I have seen other recent pieces in the NYT and even in the Financial Times while I was in London, but I didn’t think they added a lot to the discussion. But in my role as social media trailblazer in my consulting community, I wanted to pass Chris’s piece along right away.

I came to a crossroads, however, trying to compose a nice “business-y” email from the comfort of my bed in the wee hours. Feeling a bit lazy and groggy, but also wanting to move my colleagues to actually read the link I was sending, I felt stuck between writing in a ‘business’ voice and just finishing the email quickly and without too much effort. I finally just said “this is hot, read it.”

I’m not a particular user of the word ‘hot’ in general, let alone in a business context. And granted my audience of consulting colleagues are also good friends, so sounding like a vapid Angelino for a moment wasn’t going to harm my reputation or brand. But I realized in that my momemtary writing dilemma felt like a microcosm of how business communication is changing. We are bombarded by so much casual conversation now, and social media are breaking down older more formal tones. And, quite frankly, I think it’s hot.

Have you noticed changes in how you communicate in a business setting? Or how others communicate with you? What’s being gained, and what if anything is being lost?


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