Diana Soltmann, chairman of Flagship Consulting, a Peppercomm company HQ’d in jolly, old London, shares this provocative tale of two e-mails gone horribly wrong (a particularly timely subject considering the POTUS has no filter whatsoever when it comes to Tweeting horrific insults aimed at everyone from Democrats and the media (the true opposition party) or Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep. Enjoy!
How 11 words hit the top 1000 list of atrocities
“You are a despicable bottom feeding wretched disgrace of a person.” This was the email sent to a prospective bride by New York catering company Sweetery in November 2016. It hit all the headlines, and went viral on social media and then around the world several times. Google ‘Sweetery’ New York and guess what you find?
Desperate to salvage his shattered, reputation Co-founder and President of the Sweetery Grant Di Mille sent an email to prospective PR companies in which he wrote “Although our horrible mistake was highly egregious, it would be difficult to imagine that what we did would make most people’s top 1000 list of all-time atrocities, but somehow it seems as if it has.”
The worst mistake you can make is to think you are having a conversation when you email someone. You are not! In your head it sounds like one thing; on paper it is something entirely different. Emails can be painful, are always visible and can quickly go viral and once sent, can never be eradicated.
As the unfortunate Mr. Di Mille said “My Company very well might have signed a death warrant on our own business. It has created a firestorm of negative PR and social media that one might think would be reserved for the most heinous crimes against humanity.”
When Durham graduate Oliver Alcock decided to spend his last day at a leading accountancy firm writing an excoriating email about his boredom at work; never did he dream his exploits would propel him into the headlines. In his email he wrote “In hindsight scraping a B in GCSE maths and getting a Social Sciences 2:1 from Durham that consisted of £1.50 pints and fifa with some light work squashed in, possibly wasn’t the best prep for the ACA.” To add insult to injury, he wrote a list of things he did and did not do including verifying a breast cancer screening unit which earned him a damning headline from the FT ‘Moaning Millennials let down their generation’. Not surprisingly he was not invited to the accountancy firm’s summer ball!
However, all that pales into insignificance as the world enters its own media firestorm. As the new President of the United States issues more and more explosive statements from his Twitter account, holds hands with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, tells the Attorney General “You’re fired” and openly condones policies that people only whisper about a “bottom feeding wretched disgrace of a person” starts to become quite mild.
Nevertheless the mantra still is: if you want to negotiate, have a conflict, disagree do it face to face or on the phone or don’t do it at all. It could come back to haunt you for ever and ever.