7 questions to ask before you hit send

More than once, I've written an e-mail, hit send, and then immediately thought to myself, “What have I just done?”

You see, with the advent of e-mail, it's become far too easy to let people know exactly what we think. After all, the beauty of e-mail is that you can engage in a conversation without seeing the other person's reaction. As a result, i's easy to think that what we say over e-mail has no consequences.

If only that were actually true.

In reality, what we say over e-mail matters... A lot.

So, before you hit send, take a few minutes to consider your answer to these simple questions:

1. Were you angry when you wrote your e-mail?

2. Were you crying when you wrote your e-mail?

3. Did you write something just to get it off your chest?

4. Did you say something in your e-mail that can be misconstrued in anyway?

5. Did you say something in your e-mail that has the potential to offend someone?

6. Did you in anyway belittle someone else – including the recipient of your e-mail?

7. Could what you wrote damage your relationship with the recipient (or anyone else if they saw your message)?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then don't hit send.

Stop what you're doing. Save your e-mail for 24-hours and reread it once you've calmed down to make sure what you've said won't permanently damage your relationship with someone. If you're still unsure, have someone you trust read your e-mail to see how others might interpret it. Then, and only then, can you start to think about sending your e-mail. But before you do, ask yourself one last time, Would it be better to say this in person?

If the answer is yes, then don't send your e-mail.

Instead, engage in an actual face-to-face conversation with the person.

Sure, it won't save you time.

But it may save your relationship... Or even your job.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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