Write Poetry

Problem:

People get too many emails every day that are just boring.  The same old thing, somebody wants some information, or to have a meeting, there’s an announcement about a charity fundraiser, a broadcast message that the parking lot will be under construction, you know what I mean.

Solution:

If you’re going to write so much every day in emails, why not make them interesting? Write in poetry or prose.  You’ll really catch someone off guard and maybe even spread a trend.  You’ll find other closet poets emerge sending you their masterpieces and you get to know who has much of a right brain or sense of humor in your office.

If you need to send a short message or give a quick reply, just try putting a little rhythm and rhyme to it and see what happens.  If your note needs to be longer, just throw in a little poem at the end

Granted, it will take you a little longer to put the words together, but you’ll have created something worth reading, and will have injected a little fun into someone’s day.  It’s something to talk about.

It doesn’t take much

Just an arrangement of words

In a familiar form

So they all get heard.

See, it’s as simple as that.  Try it.  It’s good for your brain.

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11 responses to this post.

  1. A LITTLE more time? Are you sure, Rex? I think you are proposing a surefire path to professional collapse. Not only will you be busy writing all day (it gets harder with each poem you send since you wouldn’t want to repeat yourself, right?), it will also take the recipient much longer to filter out the answer to her question from your masterpiece. Not to mention the visibility issue sending a permanent message of “I have ample time to waste” to your colleagues. I really don’t think that what you are proposing is a good idea. Dare I shamelessly point to my blog on this topic? Never mind, I’ll answer for you: sure, Bodo, why not? Thanks Rex, here it is:
    http://theeniqma.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/management-by-visibility/

    Reply

    • Posted by rex on Saturday at 3:50 pm

      Good opposing view. I like a challenge.

      I appreciate your thoughts, Bodo, and from your perception, using your assumptions, it looks like it might be a bad idea. But let’s look objectively at some of your assumptions.

      1. “Not only will you be busy writing all day…”
      I never suggested that you reply to every email with a poem, just what ever makes sense, or who you think might appreciate it, or if you want to surprise someone that’s up to you. And how long it takes is really unknown. It could have taken me all day to craft a regular email with just the right wording. And yes, it would be kind of lame (artistically) to repeat poems, but if you’re sending separate messages to two unrelated people, they’ll probably never know that you repeated a poem.

      2. “it will also take the recipient much longer to filter out the answer…”
      I suppose that could be possible, but it would depend on how good you are with your words and poetry. Your messge might actually have more impact with a poem. Poetry is about choosing the right words to convey a message, and since you’re putting more thought into the words, what you say will probably be better and more concise.

      3. “…the visibility issue sending a permanent message of “I have ample time to waste”…”
      This is based on the assumption of the unknown that it took you a long time to craft a poem. They might just think you’re a fast poet with a quick wit. Or, it’s possible that they might feel privileged or appreciative that you actually took some time just for them. Isn’t that the message of the new social media, that you can interact one on one with each individual instead of sending out mass communication spam. It does take more time to connect. If your CEO or someone like Seth Godin takes the time to respond to your email, do you say, “Why is he wasting his time responding to me?” or do you realize that he is a busy man and appreciate the fact that he spent some time (not wasted for you) to respond to your minor issue?

      I do appreciate you sharing your opinion and your blog. You did answer correctly for me, I don’t mind shameless plugs among friends. And a good debate is what gets discussions going online, so thanks for challenging my idea.

      I’m still going to stand by it and say that you ought to try some email poetry every once in a while. If nothing else but to challenge the status quo, and because your lizard brain is telling you not to do it.

      Reply

  2. I love it Rex. I’m biased because I used to work with a woman who could literally rhyme at will. Give her a topic and her brain spit out a poem like I churn out stories. She was amazing – a savant I think in some ways since she could not write straight narrative or a memo to save her life. She anguished over a complete sentence like I struggle with a simple limerick. I think it’s a gift and if someone has the time and the relationship to do so – why not show a little more personality?

    A client of mine was struggling with a decision she had to make – something she called “A big rock wall.” I got out my craft paper and glued a chunk of white quartz gravel onto a card and wrote, “When you have to scale a big rock wall – start small. And on the inside I hand wrote a note of encouragement. It was simple, obviously hand-crafted – but the message was, “You mean enough to me for me to take time to personalize my messages to you.” She told me later how much she loved it. It wasn’t the typical sort of thing she gets and it meant something.

    @Bodo, I have to go with Rex on this. Poems aren’t for everyone, but I know when I get something a little special like that in my mailbox my first thought is about relationship – that I matter. I have friends and clients that email me pictures of themselves and their families, or of an award they got. They feel safe enough to share personal moments with me and I with them when appropriate. It builds trust and a feeling that I have their best interests at heart because I do more personal things.

    I think you’re in an industry with mostly left-brain people who wouldn’t understand a creative approach or a poem even in a personal relationship. Nothing wrong with that – they are just wired differently. Instead of a poem there might be something else – a bit of research, a link to a story they’d find helpful or interesting. The message is the same, “I’m thinking about you and your interests.” The vehicle is different is all. Nice post Rex!!

    Reply

    • Posted by rex on Saturday at 9:56 pm

      Thanks for the backup Becky! You always have great stories. I appreciate your reasoning and take on things.

      Reply

  3. Hey, any post that sparks a controversial discussion is a good one. Maybe I have been out of the corporate environment for too long to appreciate Rex’ efforts to brighten up people’s lives a little. To me there is a time to be personal and there is a time to be efficient. My normal work day is all about efficient and if you send me more than a “yes” or “no”, or make me look for it embedded in a Shakespearean Sonnet it means you are wasting my time.
    Rex, I also appreciate your efforts to challenge the status quo but out of experience a large corporation isn’t the place for it. Nothing to do with the lizard brain, and I am not saying that having great relationships with colleges isn’t desirable, but unfortunately your bosses view of your performance is what matters. The whole poem idea just sounds too much like a productivity killer to me.

    Reply

    • Posted by rex on Saturday at 9:53 pm

      A large corporation reaks of status quo, that’s why it’s so important to shake things up.

      But you’re quite alright to be efficient, Bodo. Not everyone is going to like every idea I post. Even I like some better than others. In order to post every day I gotta come up with something (even though I actually did the poetry thing for a short time, only for people within my group, they understood me. And they all loved it. So it wasn’t detrimental to my career.)

      And since Becky sided with me, that’s 2 to 1.

      Victory is mine!

      Reply

  4. Workplace writing is oft pathetic
    Terse, urgent, miscast and emetic
    What a wonder would the workplace be
    If occasionally gifted with the pen poetic

    Reply

    • Posted by rex on Sunday at 9:57 pm

      Thanks for jumping in, Tom, with the perfect example.

      You are a master of words.

      I arrest my case.

      Reply

  5. Brilliant.

    Reply

  6. All right all right, declaring defeat: not only do you have Becky’s backup but now a brilliant poem by Tom who is arguably the only person whose poetic business e-mail would not get trashed by me. In fact, I’d be disappointed if he didn’t chose that form of expressing himself.

    Reply

  7. Rex, I appreciate your “You are a master of words” comment, but it’s more that I’m a mistress of words (because they tend to **** me over now and then).

    But I really did enjoy the concept of poetry in the workplace, because it’s often so lacking in such. And it really doesn’t take much to make a business message both useful AND playful, and the play in there possibly could move the recipient to more closely consider the message, or subsequent messages. Thanks for the thought!

    Reply

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