Blonde at the Bar
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Clear Communication

58 comments

UPDATE:
Oh dear, poor old Margaret McHugh.
It seems a second email is doing the rounds, confirming that McHugh really isn't skilled when it comes to interpersonal communication.
While I still stand by my comments before, that the situation could have been avoided by a phone call, it does appear that McHugh is a repeat offender.
Reports have also surfaced that McHugh doesn't respond well to queries or criticism of any nature, having blasted a customer who phoned her to enquire about catering services.
So, for the record, any and all sympathy I did have for McHugh is withdrawn forthwith.
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So I've spoken before about emails going astray but it's safe to say that Margaret McHugh's electronic blunder falls into a far more extreme category.
I don't think anyone could argue that McHugh's actions were not misguided, but surely we can all sympathise?
Anyone who deals with clients, suppliers, readers, viewers or the public at large, will have had that moment when they just want to tell someone to f*** off.
And given your personal circumstances at the time, you may very well have told them to.
I'm not saying what McHugh did was appropriate or justified, but she is definitely not the first person to commit such an offence.
Professional conduct aside, the situation highlights how insular email is making us and how it is eroding our ability to effectively communicate and empathise with other people.


Hayley Johnstone was sitting in her office and given a job to do - organise the Christmas party.
So she went to the Gourmet Food Store website, as her firm had dealt with the caterers before, and researched the order.
She then placed an email order, presumably as it seemed the most effective means of communication.
What she didn't consider, however, was that unlike herself and most other office workers, a caterer is unlikely to be sitting at a desk all day.
It's Christmas, the busiest time of year for catering companies, and Johnstone only began the exchange three working days before the function.
Emails bounced back and forth before McHugh lost the plot completely.
The ridiculous part is, if either one of the women had bothered to pick up the phone, the issue could have resolved amicably in just minutes.
What would have been a five-minute conversation, was drawn out over three days thanks to the "convenience" of email, resulting in flared tempers and now, public embarrassment.
While I am not condoning McHugh's actions, if Johnstone had given the situation a little more thought, early on in the piece, I highly doubt either party would be suffering their current notoriety.
Because, while Johnstone has definitely come out better off in this exchange, I can't imagine her employers are terribly chuffed that the world is now reading this petty spat on their company letterhead.

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