As convenient as email has become, I often wonder if we hide behind it when we need to confront people, or address an issue that we would rather not address. It reminds me of a person breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend with a text. It is a lot easier, but not only is it not a very polite way to handle the situation, but it is a cowardly way to handle it as well.
When dealing with sensitive matters, or sending an email to a sensitive person, you need to look at every angle to make sure there is no way it can be misconstrued. The tone that you intend is not always the one it is taken. Before you hit the send button read and reread your email to make sure the tone and information that is intended will be the way it will be interpreted when it is received.
Sometimes an email is not the best way to handle a situation at all. A friend of mine who worked for a large bank was told in training that if you compose an email that you would not want to see on the cover of the Wall Street Journal, then do not send it. She said living by that rule has stopped her numerous times from sending various emails, and she chose to pick up the phone instead.
The other thing to consider that emails can be saved and/or passed on. If you think your mean spirited exchange is going to stay between you and someone else, then forget about it. The first thing I want to do when I receive an email that has an attitude is show it to someone else. It is like we can’t wait to share with other people how we are stuck dealing with someone who is being obnoxious or mean.
As wonderful as technological advances are, don’t forget a great invention from years ago – the telephone. A telephone opposed to an email is what often saves us a lot of time (and heartache) in the long run.