Have you received an email with several misspellings or grammatical errors?
Have you received a group email that got sent around several times to several people, including you?
Do you find yourself sometimes struggling to get through a long email, only to reach the end and realize you’re still not sure what it was all about?
Have you sent an email assuming the other person would understand your words and your tone, only to get a response back that didn’t really relate to your intentions?
I’m sure you can come up with several other items to put on this list. In our high speed communication age, we rapidly email and text and tweet several times a day….but are we really communicating? There are some disagreements about how much human communication is non-verbal, but I think that we all can agree that lacking voice intonation, facial expression, body language and simply feeling another person’s energy, words alone will not necessarily convey thoughts accurately.
I have a bit of a silly streak in me (those who know me might say it is more than a bit). I learned a long time ago never to use my silliness in an email unless I was absolutely sure that the person knew me well enough to understand the communication (and I’m not sure it’s wise to send anyone a silly email). Of course, I can add an imogi or a simple :>), but……
Here are a few suggestions to avoid misunderstandings when emailing:
- Keep it short and simple
- If at all possible, save your sincere, serious communications for in-person or by phone
- Read every email over before you press “Send”
- If you are sending out a longer email or something with important information, make sure you have someone else read it before you send it
- If you are feeling angry or frustrated with someone, DO NOT send them an email and let them know this; cool down first, and then make a phone call
- If you are sending an email to a group of people, use the bcc, even if everyone knows each other; it will seem more personal and it will be impossible for someone else to press the “Reply all” and send out swirling emails that can drive us crazy;