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What Do Your E-Mail Messages Say About You?
By Charlene Rashkow

There probably isn't a business person alive who hasn't at one time or another experienced total frustration along with an inability to resolve a difficult business situation via e-mail. Sometimes without giving it much thought an e-mail is sent in anger. But angry, rude communication is not the way to win your case. In fact, for the most part, people will turn away and won’t even hear what you’re saying.

Catch More Flies With Honey Than Vinegar!

I am in no way implying a Pollyanna attitude, for that is the furthest thing from my mind. What I am suggesting is that you still catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Trying to get the good stuff with nasty behavior will never win you the prize but will instead leave you feeling more frustrated and angry. If someone has behaved poorly and you want to try and resolve the situation, effective results will only come about with well thought out communication. Nasty or unkind comments just won't cut it.

There Are Consequences to Rude Communication!

For the most part it’s challenging to create a specific tone in an e-mail communication so e-mail messages can be easily misinterpreted. Although the sender may think he or she is conveying the situation reasonably, the words can easily be misperceived. So before sending an outraged, nasty e-mail think about the fact that harsh words don't mend fences. You may need to convey your anger but there is a way to do it effectively. Consider the following:

1. If a particular person or situation has upset you, start by taking a pause and silently counting to 10. Perhaps you could take a walk for a few minutes to cool down before addressing the situation.

2. When you respond, be professional in your communication. If you are unpleasant or rude, the person receiving the communication will turn off immediately and will have a hard time hearing what you're saying. If you’re polite and honest you have a much better chance at being heard.

3. Try not to become defensive; pushing against will not result in resolution. If someone is expressing anger towards you, try to just receive it without defense. Later on when you've had a chance to calm down, you can respond with the appropriate words.

4. Be honest about your feelings but speak about you and your feelings and make every attempt not to blame the other person.

5. Writing is a wonderful tool for venting purposes so start by writing out your feelings but don't send the e-mail just yet. After you've released all your bad feelings, rewrite the letter with some diplomacy and tact.

6. Read your message silently and aloud. Better yet, have a trusted friend review the message before sending it. An objective party can help you determine if it’s okay to send.

You can't take back abusive language and you certainly can't retrieve an e-mail once you've hit the send button so use caution. Just because you aren't seen is no excuse for behaving badly. And remember, our computer keyboard was not meant as a weapon but as a valuable tool for communication. So when you get ready to send that e-mail make sure that if it were printed in a newspaper you would be proud of how it read.

Copyright © 2005

Charlene Rashkow brings 15 years of experience as a Writing Stylist and Author to her creative efforts as a freelance writer. She has successfully helped companies and individuals reach their objectives by writing outstanding press releases, bios, articles of interest, business plans, resumes, web site content and all other forms of personal, professional and marketing material. Contact Charlene at

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