Email Etiquette: texting is killing it


Because you got someones email address off the faculty list doesn’t mean you can skip etiquette. Or proper grammar, spelling and basic sentence structure.

Don’t roll your eyes.  What you learned while communicating with your peers is not the same as proper communicating in emails. Meet people properly.  Market yourself with style.

I reviewed information on memo format and email etiquette at a variety of sources online and in some old books on etiquette after listening to the frustration from my wife, the Professor, as she vented about some of the emails she receives from college students.

She’s received emails like the two below, both from a new and unknown student the second week of Fall classes.

Email 1 – hey there i missed the first week of class. am I late on any assisnms when can i make them up

Email 2 – WHATSUP WHY dont you ANswer?

I wanted to help the professor and came up with the following replies for those types of emails.

Email Etiquette Example 1:

Subject: When emailing a professor use a formal tone.

Dear, Mr. Student and/or Ms. Student

In business, effective and appropriate email etiquette is important. This is no different in the school of business at NMHU. In the business world, people are classified by what they do, how they look, what they say, and how they say it. Getting off on the wrong foot with a potential employer, a new client, a new professor to name a few is easy to avoid if you communicate in a professional manner.

Avoid the belief that emails to professors or other staff dealing with your education are the same type you send to family and friends. This is also true for the business world. What you write and how you do it is a projection of your image. You are branding yourself with your words and actions just as one would a product in a marketing campaign.

Sincerely, Professor Ignacio Plato

Email Etiquette Example 2:

Subject: When is it okay to email your professor?

Dear, Mr. Student and/or Ms. Student

I can respond to emails when you have an easy question that can be answered in a paragraph or less and when you have an assignment that you are allowed to submit via email.

I can’t accept assignments through email if I haven’t approved it. If you want to ask for an extension for an assignment, do it in person. Don’t bring up any topic that will require continuous conversation. It is best to communicate face-to-face to prevent misunderstandings.

Sincerely, Professor Ignacio Plato

Attachment: email etiquette.doc

The first email to any new contact should use the highest level of respect. And keep using a formal title until the contact informs you otherwise.

Example: Hello, Professor Plato – Hello, Dr. Plato – Dear Mr. Plato Don’t start an email with Hey – Howdy – what’s up Plato

When emailing a professor, always include your full name, the class and the class time.

Example: My name is John Dewy. I am in your Business 181, MW 11-12:15pm class.

Write in a positive tone using black text in a standard font. Don’t use abbreviations, smiles, winks, etc, or negative language. The email should be short and to the point, it is best if it is no longer than a paragraph or two. Use correct spelling, punctuation and grammar. You are communicating with a professor as an educated adult. Use full sentences with proper structure. Don’t use all caps thinking it

makes something more important. Don’t use all lower case letters to communicate. You want to present a polished image. You do not want to come off as lacking education, business savvy or that you are lazy. The subject field is the first thing read and determines if the email will be opened or not. Have a short subject entry that clearly indicates what is inside the email.

At the end include a salutation and sign off with your name, first and last, and your email.

Sincerely, Professor Ignacio Plato

Complaining does not work: if you fall down, get up and try again – maybe a different way


Too many people go through life complaining about things.  Vince, the handsome young man on the left who is looking into the distance future, was not one to complain.

Vince would fall down, a lot, and get right back up, and keep getting up every time he fell down, and he fell down a lot.  Why did he fall?  He was born with cerebral palsy.  It didn’t affect his arms or smarts, only his walking, running, and general balance (and luckily the ability to chase after his smart mouthed brothers the other two guys in the picture).  When he was little, Vince wore metal braces on his legs. I am certain they hurt a lot as he wore them.  And Vince had the most amazing Frankenstein scars on his legs, the gigantic zipper like ones from surgeries to lengthen his heel cords (a surgeon cuts the heel cord to make it longer then sews you up, puts casts on the legs and keeps you in a wheelchair for a few months until it heals), hip adductor releases (a surgeon cuts into your groin area and snips on tendons to make the muscles longer).  Ouch.

That’s me in the middle of the picture.  On the left is the oldest of three brothers, Vince. And on the right, the one with the bicycle is my middle brother, Jay.  The Airborne Ranger of the three.  The bike belonged to young Vince. And sexist as it can sound, the bike was a girls bike, a three speed, with hand brakes, a banana seat and sissy bar.  Now I want to add that I had a regular girls bike, a single speed with a pedal brake.  It was my first bike.  Jay, not sure on the sex of his steed, I think it was a boys single speed bike with a pedal brake.

So, the bike, the girls one with three speeds, hand brakes and a banana seat with sissy bars, that was Vince’s and he rode the dang thing.  He learned to ride it without training wheels and never complained when he fell down during the learning curve.  And he fell down a lot.  In respect to Vince, I need to clarify the term I use: a lot.  A lot was bloody at times.  Can you imagine having poor balance and high muscle tone in you legs and you are pedaling a three speed girls bicycle and wobbling down a cement sidewalk with your younger brother grasping the back of the sissy bar.   The annoying brother is propelling you forward on a frightening path of concrete that hurts when you fall while walking and was much more painful from atop of your banana seat throne.  And as he runs beside you until he lets go, the annoying little brother is bugged that you just don’t get how to balance. There is no pity as you fall and I am sure it was painful, frustrating, and frightening.  But you don’t complain, you get up and try again.

Too many people go through life complaining about their problems.  If they took the energy they use to complain they could solve that problem.  We have finite time in life.  If you have a goal in life, being jealous of others or complaining about your lot or whining to be heard, it all is a waste of  your time to live and enjoy life.

90 second rule

I need to remember this one.  So maybe it would be a good one for you too.

Take 90 seconds for a healthy and happy relationship.  If you have not seen a friend or family member for more than 2 hours since your last encounter, take the first 90 seconds of time to focus on that person.  Be sincere.  Do your best to look them in the eyes.  you know you are doing this when you can see the color of their eyes.   Communicate without focusing on anything else.  This is important in the days of cellphoneparenting.

To be human is to be occupational.


In its simplest terms, occupational therapists help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).

Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.

There is this massive book OT’s use Willard & Spackman’s Occupational Therapy.  I have the twelfth edition and some of this comes from that book.

To be human is to be occupational.  To know what occupation is, it is necessary to examine what humans do with their time, how such activities are organized, what purposes they serve, and what they mean for individuals and society.

Personal experience of doing occupation, whether consciously attended to or not, provides a fundamental understanding of occupation–what it is, how it happens, what it means, what is good about it, and what is not.

Reboot People Skills

RebootImage this, before texting came along, people had a difficult time communicating face-to-face.  Now even the shyest person can ask out someone if they have the right digits and a cellphone.

Robert Boldton, Ph.D in his book People Skills writes that ineffective communication causes an interpersonal gap that is experienced in all facets of life and in all sectors of society.

Texting and the constant need to be hooked into a wifi-socialization notification ping pong match is not helping  to close this interpersonal gap Boldton describes. And his book is copyrighted in 1979.

Most people are not good at active listening.  Active listening is difficult.  We all do this – not listen intently enough to actually understand what another person is saying.

We might pretend to listen.  But we likely let our minds wander.  It might be what to do for lunch, that the person smells like garlic, or we pretend merely to listen until there is a pause and we can start to talk about what we want to say in words and gestures.

And if you are more intent on waiting for the next notification ping to sound or vibrate, then how intent can you ever really be?  The tenderness and intimacy is lost.

160 characters

160Do you ever wonder why a text message is limited to 160 characters?  I did.  And I found more rules for different digital social medias and more questions as I began to search.

How do you count 16 characters?  A letter, space or punctuation is a “character”. If you type “enter”

that is one line break and a “character.” The new paragraph generates two “characters.”

Snapchat’s limit is 80 characters. Twitter’s is 140. The other 20 characters on twitter are for the user’s unique address.

Who is the father of all this?  Friedhelm Hillebrand

It is interesting to read.   Can you remember when we paid 20 cents for each text with an overage charge?  I sure can when cellphones first entered my cell phone parenting.


You can get a count of your posts characters here.

You and Your Emotions – Maxie C. Maultsby, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Maultsby wrote a book I’d wished I had around for my children.  And then he passed away a few days after I had found out about it and bought it on Amazon.  You and Your Emotions picture

I posted that I had the book and was planning to use it with high school students I work with for my job.  His daughter Evelyn Maultsby Bynum replied “Lol! I think I have that book engrained in my brain as he made me read it over and over again when I was in middle school. Lol! I have multiple copies at home ready and waiting for when my kids are in need of its brilliant instruction & material. 😄”

Wisdom is simple, listening to it is complex, applying it is life altering.

the Good Dope Days

We all need to be reminded from time to time that if you are not part of the future then get out of the way.

I heard a grandmother talk about how she hated that her grandchildren did not communicate with her unless made to do so by their parents.  The grandmother wanted to turn back time to the good dope days where children were mindful.

The parents did their best to teach their children to be respectful of their elders and made the children call the grandparents once a week.  But making someone do something against their will breeds resentment.

And those weekly Sunday night phone calls were an awful experience for all.

The parents had to herd up the children, dial the phone and stand guard as the children took a turn saying “hello Grandma” and then cringe as they responded to their grandmother with “yes” “no” “I don’t know” with a teenage hint of resentment enunciated with each reply.

For a long time the grandmother resisted reflecting on her role in this situation.  Maybe it was pride or perhaps it was fear of becoming old and outdated that kept her so stubborn.

Then one day she was given a smartphone with a one month contract.   She was told like it or not a major part of her grandchildren’s lives is digital socialization.  And one of their major occupations is caring for, and socializing on a smartphone.

She was taught how to text and she dropped the stubborn negative thoughts of her grandchildren and began to communicate with them in this new form.

The grandchildren loved the 160 character messages from their grandmother.  And no longer a chore assigned by their parents, they developed a digitally meaningful and gratifying relationship.

What was most rewarding, the parents no longer needed to force the children to call their grandmother, they spontaneously called her.

If she was able to reflect on the problem the grandmother might have seen her grandchildren are living a world apart from her good dope days. And what the grandmother needed was knowledge of the rules and techniques needed to communicate with these digitized grandchildren in their LED world.

Dr. Maxie C. Maultsby Jr.

You and Your Emotions picture

Dr. Maxie C, Maultsby, Jr., M.D.  passed away Sunday August 28, 2016.

His daughter Evelyn Maultsby Bynum wrote on Facebook – “A great man died on Sunday. He was my father, Dr, Maxie C. Maultsby, Jr. A leader in the field of medicine, selected to be inducted into the “Hall of Fame” for the American Psychiatric Association as a Distinguished Life Fellow, selected as a Magnificent Professor by the Howard University College of Medicine…those are just a two of his massive list of honors and accolades. For those of you sports enthusiasts, in the 1970’s when the University of Madison-Wisconsin football team asked him to help improve their athletes’ performance, he became the first Psychiatrist to ever use Emotive Imagery within the sports field. This is a technique he created with Dr. Albert Ellis, another world renowned Psychiatrist. The football team went on to have a successful season and this method is now commonly used world wide in sports psychology and other areas of therapy. Additonally, those of you who’ve ever worked with a therapist have probably experience the use of Rational Behavior Therapy (RBT)– a psychiatric therapeutic approach now commonly used around the world by Psychiatrists, Psychologists and therapists. Finally, the success of this approach led him to be the first Psychiatrist to ever receive $1 Million to develop an approach for how RBT could be used to treat those individuals overtaken with alcoholism. This grant resulted in many things, key of which was his well known book titled “A Million Dollars for Your Hangover”…now titled “Stay Sober, Stay Straight”. Through my fathers books, lectures, and medical articles, his practices are used around the world…his influence is wide and deep. He will be missed by many…especially by me.”

took the following from the editorial review on Amazon.  Dr. Maxie C. Maultsby Jr. is a most unusual psychiatrist; he is a normal people psychiatrist. That means he is a fully trained, board certified psychiatrist, but by choice he works mainly with normal but excessively unhappy or unsuccessful people. Yet, because they are normal, i.e. possess brains that are free of significant malfunctions, Dr. Maultsby’s patients and readers of his books want and are mentally capable of achieving as much personal success, plus emotional and spiritual satisfaction, for which they are willing to work.


Normal people’s psychiatrists practice the Cognitive-Behavioral psychotherapy and counseling. Dr. Maultsby has had 30 plus years of clinical experience in professional training, research and clinical practice using this treatment method. He completed training in both child and adult psychiatry. He now is a Medical College Professor at Howard University and the author of the only comprehensive, short-term Cognitive-Behavioral psychotherapy and counseling method, called Rational Behavior Therapy, which produces long-term results. Rational Behavior Therapy, Dr. Maultsby’s book by the same name, clearly demonstrates this now well established medical fact: “Much, if not most, anxiety and the other negative human emotions in normal people are unsuspectedly and therefore naively created by those entirely sane, intelligent people themselves”.

His well know research and effective training and treatment methods have made Dr. Maultsby an internationally recognized expert on scientific, yet practical concepts and techniques of healthy human conflict resolution. His self-help books are used by mental health professionals in every area of personal and inter personal conflict resolutions as well as for corporate management development and change management. Larry Wilson’s popular best seller: Play to Win, is admittedly based in large part on Dr. Maultsby’s work on the scientific principles and habits of normal people. Dr. Maultsby is truly the quintessential international expert on efficiently effective personal and organizational development and self-management.


Blending Occupational Therapy with Digital Parenting

Over fifteen years ago (January 2001) I started to write down some of the things I learned from my experiences as an Occupational Therapist. I initially planned to make a clearinghouse site for parents and limit it to issues related to Sensory Integration.

Later, as a parent of three children, and going through a divorce, I put this plan on hold. There was little time to write outside of that required for work and the many things to do as a parent.  About all I could do was bookmark websites helpful to me both professionally and personally.  I then added handwritten notes to myself for specific issues that arose.  I planned, without a timeline, to return to this information at a future time and share it somehow.

Eight years ago, I met a wonderful person, a Peruvian transplanted to Northern New Mexico, and remarried.  We both came into the relationship with children from prior marriages.  We went about blending together a new family, an adventure that continues daily. With loving encouragement, I began to make time for my dreams and recommitted to sharing occupational therapy digitally.