Avoid hitting ‘send’ when you’re feeling emotional.
Today’s tip is about business communication rather than being strictly about ‘business writing’. But it is about written business communication and it’s important.
It may seem obvious but …
Email is, in most instances, an efficient way to communicate. But the very speed at which we can send a message means that email can be risky.
We are used to dashing off a few words and hitting ‘send’. It’s all so quick and easy. But what happens if we are angry or upset when we ‘dash off’ our few words?
Our word choice, our sentence length, our use of upper case letters – all of these create the tone of the email. Remember, most times when you receive an email you can’t see the sender. You can’t see if they’re smiling, tense, nervous, upset, angry or anything else. All you see are the words.
When we write letters we usually prepare a draft, think about it carefully, measure our words. We are going to be putting them to paper and they are likely to end up on a file somewhere for a long time.
Somehow the quick, electronic nature of email lets us forget this. But it’s important to remember. Your words are going to be read and interpreted by a person. If you write in anger, without taking the time to consider your response, when you hit ‘send’ that response is out there. You cannot get it back.
So take the time to distance yourself from whatever has angered you. Let a couple of hours go by, or wait until the next morning. Then reread your draft and decide whether to send it as it is, or whether to revise it.
In case you missed them, you can download tips #1 to #5 here: