Mark as Always Read Award for Best Email


The finalists for the 2013 Mark as Always Read Award for Best Email are:

Individual: Wendii Lord
Organization: Manager Tools (site)
Submitted by Anon

Wendii sent out a newsletter email that had a few errors in it. She immediately sent out an email apologizing for the mistakes. A week later she shared what happened as a result. The pure honesty of both of the emails is quite different than what we normally get in the corporate world and shared an insight into Wendii’s day.

The Email:

Date: April 9, 2013
To: (Manager Tools Subscribers)
Subject: The Apology What Happened Next

Last week, I sent out a Newsletter riddled with errors.  Soon after I realized, I sent an apology note.  What happened next was amazing.

I got over 100 notes from readers saying everything from ‘don’t worry’ to ‘glad to know you’re human’.  There were people who made me laugh: the one line note that said ‘can I give you some feedback….’; people who made me cry: the note that offered to be my cheerleader and gave me a list of positives.  There were notes that said they admired my professionalism, integrity and honesty.  There were notes that said they don’t mind the errors because the information is helpful.  I got notes which said readers were forwarding the apology to their directs as an example.

There was not one note which said ‘you’re an idiot and you shouldn’t be doing your job’.  Not one with even the slightest negative tone.  Even the person who pointed out the mistakes sent me a note saying ‘I hope I didn’t get you into trouble’.

I want to say thank you to every single person who wrote.  I wish you’d been in my office when those notes started to come in – you’d have seen the visible change in my mental state.  You changed my day.  Thank you.  I was reminded that we have the best listeners and readers in the world.

I also want everyone to know the lesson I learnt from this.  If you need to apologize do it quickly and sincerely.  We teach this in ‘Do you need to apologize’ and I never have had a problem with apologizing.  I try not to send mistakes to 50,000 people though! The consequences of pretending something didn’t happen, or covering up are invariably negative. The consequences of apologizing are surprisingly positive not negative.  Gather up your courage, and if you need to apologize do so.  You might be amazed at the response too.

Individual: Louis CK
Organization: Louis CK (site)
Submitted by Anon

Louis has a newsletter where he sends out infrequent emails about upcoming shows and new downloads when they are available.  Back in October, he sent an email different from his normal updates. It still contained his stream-of-consciousness style of writing and some of his normal humor, but was also very heartfelt.

The email:

Date: October 5, 2012
To: (Louis CK Newsletter Subscribers)
A message from Louis C.K.

Greetings to the people and parts of people that are reading this.   Hi.  This is Louis.   I’m a comedian and you bought a thing from me. Well, I’m writing to tell You that there is a new thing you can buy on my website   It’s an audio standup set by not me but another comedian named Tig Notaro.  Why am I selling someone else’s comedy on my website?

Well,   Tig is a friend of mine and she is very funny.  I love her voice on stage.   One night I was performing at a club in LA called Largo.  Tig was there.   She was about to go on stage.   I hadn’t seen Tig in about a year and I said how are you?   She replied “well I found out today that I have cancer in both breasts and that it has likely spread to my lymph nodes.  My doctor says it looks real bad. “. She wasn’t kidding.   I said “uh.  Jesus.   Tig.    Well.   Do you… Have your family… Helping?”.   She said “well my mom was with me but a few weeks ago she fell down, hit her head and she died”.   She still wasn’t kidding.

Now, I’m pretty stupid to begin with, and I sure didn’t know what to say now.  I opened my mouth and this came out.   “jeez, Tig.   I.   Really value you.  Highly.”.  She said “I value you highly too, Louie.”.  Then she held up a wad of note-paper in her hand and said “I’m gonna talk about all of it on stage now.  It’s probably going to be a mess”.  I said “wow”.  And with that, she went on stage.

I stood in the wings behind a leg of curtain, about 8 feet from her, and watched her tell a stunned audience “hi.  I have cancer.  Just found out today.  I’m going to die soon”.   What followed was one of the greatest standup performances I ever saw.   I can’t really describe it but I was crying and laughing and listening like never in my life.  Here was this small woman standing alone against death and simply reporting where her mind had been and what had happened and employing her gorgeously acute standup voice to her own death.

The show was an amazing example of what comedy can be.  A way to visit your worst fears and laugh at them.   Tig took us to a scary place and made us laugh there.  Not by distracting us from the terror but by looking right at it and just turning to us and saying “wow. Right?”.   She proved that everything is funny.  And has to be.  And she could only do this by giving us her own death as an example.  So generous.

After her set, I asked Mark Flanagan, the owner of Largo (great club, by the way) if he recorded the set.  Largo is set up for excellent recordings.  He said that he did.

A few days later, I wrote Tig and asked her if I could release this set on my site.  I wanted people to hear what I saw.  What we all saw that night.  She agreed.  The show is on sale for the same 5 dollars I charge for my stuff.  I’m only keeping 1.  She gets the other 4.   Tig has decided to give some of that to cancer research.

Tig, by the way, has since undergone a double mastectomy.  She is doing well.  Her doctors say her chances of survival are excellent.  So she went there and came back.  Her report from the frontlines of life and death are here for you to… Enjoy.

Please go to my site and buy her show.  You can buy it here:

Thank you.  Have a terrific afternoon.

Louis C.K.

Individual: Alan Weiss
Organization: Summit Consulting (site)
Submitted by AnyTime

Alan sends out a weekly email where he shares some of his thoughts and perspectives on various ideas related to consulting. One particular newsletter he focused on how it’s easy to get bogged down in the negative news around us, but that we should move past that and focus on the positives and what’s possible.

The email:

Date: March 4, 2013
To: (Alan Weiss Newsletter Subscribers)
Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo

This week’s focus point: The Sunday New York Times yesterday had five front page stories, four negative (mandatory cuts in spending, border struggles with Mexico, Virginia being hard hit by government cuts, JPMorgan not being fair in products it sells) and one novelty (eight-figure, seedy homes in New Delhi). It’s tough to find good news unless you go to the sports page where SOMEONE has to have won! Too often, we present dismal tidings to our clients, assuming they’re “damaged” and must be fixed. We ought to focus on the positive, the possible, and the purposeful. In fact, I’ve found that most clients ignore their own internal best practices because they are fixated on others’ they’re told are better. Stop being a harbinger of bad news. There’s more than enough good news to go around if we look for it. That will set you apart!

Want More Humor?

Join over 3,000 monthly readers and get a dose of humor delivered to your inbox (plus you’ll receive a free PDF of 50 Ways to Use Humor at Work).
{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment