Our daily communication is wrapped in the written word, and emails are probably a part of your everyday professional culture. But don’t just click “send” – take a moment and be aware of the implication of your content. There are some things you should avoid in emails.
- Yeah, right! (Or, be wary of sarcasm and humor)
Humor is extremely difficult to translate into the written word, simply because it is devoid of the nuances that make the meaning crystal clear – the wry smile, the intonation of your voice, or the twinkle in the eye. These non-verbal cues rarely convey well through text, although you may feel they do as the writer. Humor can be misconstrued as sarcasm, and the opposite message is received by your audience. Save the humor for face-to-face interaction and avoid in emails!
- Let me at ‘em! (Or, don’t email when angry)
When you’re angry, it’s not the time to send an email. The negative message that contains insensitive, insulting or critical comments is called a flame. Take time to cool off and calm down before responding – if you don’t, the damage you create will further fuel the negative situation. Remember, once you’ve hit “send,” you’re committed. Give it a couple of hours, or wait until the next day. It’s much easier than trying to resolve an even larger fiasco caused by your heated response.
- Silence is golden. (Or, know when not to respond)
When you meet someone on the street, etiquette dictates that you return the greeting. Often this initial interaction can begin an exchange of conversation. However, when writing, keep in mind that not every email deserves a response. Frequently, people feel obligated or expected to respond. But here’s how to save everyone time: if you don’t have anything to say, don’t reply. It’s as simple as that!