Two Minutes — 40 Relationships

Good things can take time. Learning to play the violin, becoming a chef, or achieving business success can take training, persistence, and time.

On the other hand, being gracious can take only a few seconds. Words or phrases that require somewhere between 1.5 and 3.0 seconds to type (each) include:

  • Hello
  • Thank you
  • Regards
  • How are you?
  • Happily
  • A person’s name (bonus points for this one)
  • Love
  • I appreciate you
  • I’m listening
  • I’ll fix it
  • With gratitude
  • Please
  • I apologize
  • Glad to be here

Each of us sends about 40 email messages per day on average. Two (2) gracious words added to each email message requires a total of two (2) extra minutes per day.

Do you find yourself omitting a word or two from a message because it saves time? Is it worth it?

Up to 40 people.

Two minutes or less.

…Time well spent.


Craig James
Craig James
Craig is a curious Writer, Conversationalist, Coach and Business Advisor. He believes the world can be a better place if we have the courage to conduct the conversations we need to have—and if we share wisdom and ideas with love and a spirit of abundance. He craves ideas. The serious credentials? Craig spent many years in the I.T. industry as an executive—leading business and technical teams. Unisys and Sun Microsystems (now Oracle) are on the list of companies for whom he’s worked. His experience has equipped him to bring insights as a Business Advisor and Strategist (via CatalystStrategies/Cat-Strat Services). Leadership, Business Development, and Strategic Planning are sweet spots. He also helps leaders-of-leaders tap their own wisdom via Executive Coaching. Coaching is quite the passion for him—and increasingly—his practice includes healthy doses of Career and Life Coaching (Who isn’t reevaluating and reinventing themselves these days—right?) Cat-Strat, the firm, was founded in 2001. Currently, Craig is Co-President of the Northeastern Ohio Chapter of Conscious Capitalism. He and his business/life partner (Sue James) share the role. His most recent podcasting activity is as Host and Co-Executive Producer of “Big Audacious Idea”—a podcast about the greatest questions of the human experience. Hiking, guitar, skiing, golf, and reading are some of his favorite activities (not all at the same time), and indulging in exceptionally bad puns remains a persistent and irritating habit. Photo: David Allen Moss

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  1. What a great reminder, Craig.

    The problems with emails is that we are often in a conversation mindset when we have just read an email, so we reply as if we have a conversation. But the recipient may need a preamble as they have moved on to the next thing in their day.
    I am sure they don’t mind using two minutes in 5 sec slots on being the recipient of kindness in what they read.

    I admit that I added the first line to my comment after having written the paragraph. QED.

    • Dear, Charlotte:

      A key observation. What you describe necessitates taking one self out of one’s own mode and moment… and stepping into the other person’s shoes–appreciating their potential (or likely) stride and gait.

      With gratitude for your ongoing wisdom,
      – Craig

  2. Dear Craig,

    Thank you for this simple reminder to offer our gratitude, to extend our love, to show our appreciate for people in our lives with words. Add them in all the time for this may be the last communication you have with a person you care about. This I know for certain. I appreciate you and these words of gentle encouragement to be gracious enough to express our care and kindness.

    With heartfelt gratitude for you,
    PS writing from the heart has become the greatest liberation of being human and humane. What an emancipation and a joy!

  3. Carolyn: Mutual feelings, my friend. Great appreciation for you and your heart.

    It’s perspective building to tune into your observations regarding other aspects (other than potential time limitations). The notion of assumption (they know how I feel) and perhaps fear (fear of being vulnerable) could indeed be the thing(s)-behind-the-thing at times. There could even be fears of “looking soft” in some cases.

    I was once part of a group that conducted quite a bit of online work together. One of the leaders told me “Stop with the salutations, Craig–we operate fast and efficiently here…”. I tried, but slipped them back in anyway. It wasn’t a big conflict or conversation… nor was it the sole reason for my diminished involvement–but it was this dynamic plus a few other common, basic human practices that were missing that contributed to my involvement gently fading–by my choice.

    I remain open to the notion that I might have been too old fashioned for the group. Perhaps. But hand-written notes and hugs are old fashioned–and I like those too! 😊.

  4. Craig,
    First and foremost.. I so appreciate YOU!

    This concept feels so simple, so why do we find it so difficult?
    Not enough time? Not necessary – they know how I feel? Don’t want to get to comfortable/vulnerable?
    I love the simplicity of the actions with the ultimate outcome of just being gracious/kind.

    39 emails to go… with a grateful heart.

salon 360°