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.