The Trouble with Email Part II
We’re talking about email again … and this time, we’re talking about tone.
It’s Friday. You’re still at the office and there’s a lot to look forward to … elsewhere. Maybe a cocktail with friends? Maybe an adventurous trip to Costco (You’ve dared yourself to spend less than $100! Can it be done? Impossible!)? Maybe you’ll put some miles on the treadmill to counteract the cocktail and the free snacks from Costco? But wait … you’re still at the office.
Careful! This is when you’re most susceptible to sending a quick email that baffles coworkers OR to sending an email response that reads like a mic drop. As I said last time, before you hit send, Kanye …
If you don’t, you risk causing an inadvertent “What the hell did he mean by that?” moment for your recipient (which for some over-thinkers among us could last and last).
And there you are … eating your Swedish meatball next to a stack of tires … oblivious to this consternation happening on the other end of your barely premeditated message.
Avoid this mistake altogether by waiting to send your email until Monday. Reread it with fresh eyes.
Do the following:
Know your audience. Do they really get you? If not, stick to the facts, but be cordial. Greetings are almost always the right way to start.
Read your email aloud to yourself at a normal and really slow speed. How does it sound? Does the punctuation match your intention? Cool!
DON’T USE ALL CAPS (Nope. Don’t.)
Don’t feel like you have to be super positive or negative. Hyperbole is the most unnecessary bole.
Ask yourself if there is any way the email could be misinterpreted. If so, call them instead!
No, we don't have to tiptoe around every email we send. Let's just make sure that we attempt to digest what we’re writing before we ask someone else to do the same thing.
If you’re on the other end of the email…
Be logical, and don’t respond right away if you’re unsure of someone’s intentions.
Consider the style of the sender and give them the benefit of the doubt.
And then imagine the sender typing with one hand as he throws his coat on and digs for his Costco card. It happens.
Side note: Here’s an interesting article from USA Today about whether texting or email is more secure.