Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Red Menace

Here’s an interesting email exchange I had at work yesterday between our Accounting Tech (the one who pays the bills for our office, but is physically located in another building) and me.

I responded to her a detailed email, highlighting some key points in red. Her response to that email starts below.

ACCOUNTING TECH: I’ve printed these communications for the files but in the future, please use another color for hi-lights. The color RED used in business dealings is insulting. That’s why black and blue ink are the standard choices for written and oral communication. I guess my hi-lights looked red - thought I was using a burgundy………. I’ll refrain from using that one in the future.

[Then before I had a chance to reply to her…]

ACCOUNTING TECH: I’m laughing at myself--- we don’t speak in colors. My bad……………… Sometimes we refer to humans by color which is not cool anyway.

ME: Insulting? That’s the first I’ve heard that. Where do you get that information? We use red all the time – for emphasis, to pull it out from other items in an email. (I just did a Google search for that information, but didn’t come up with anything except that “red shouldn’t be used on a business card in Madagascar”.) And I’ve already heard to never use blue in written communication (that is, on a piece of paper) because it doesn’t copy well. I guess it all depends on the background we come from. I guess everyone has his/her communication preferences.

ACCOUNTING TECH: I was taught that on another job. In the Admin office we don’t use “RED” for that reason. Oh well. Have a great afternoon.

ME: That's cool. No red to you. Got it.


jason said...

I remember being told in grad school that we shouldn't use red to correct students' work, because of such bad connotations.
Trust me, I write a lot in red. :)

Breezy said...

I use everything but red to correct tests. Interesting.