Think (Deeply) Before You Send

142559364This week’s Struming is inspired by my wise friend, Paul Gumbinner, with his recent post, Never Send an Angry Email

This is incredibly smart counsel. Paul and I have a few gray hairs, and we remember the guidance we received in yesteryear as young up and comers in the business, which was never send an angry letter. The process of composing and typing a letter in yesteryear by definition gave some time for cooling off before mailing. However, the immediacy of email is too tempting for some. My advice: Don’t do it!

Here’s my 2 cents:

Never ever, ever, ever send an angry email. Doesn’t matter if it’s deserved. Doesn’t matter if you are 100% correct and the other party is 100% wrong. DON’T DO IT. It’s like trying to win a political argument with a stranger on Facebook. It’s a waste of time, and will likely do harm. Worse yet, it enflames issues you hope to solve.

I respect the powerful, business changing impact of electronic business communication. Obviously, it has dramatically enhanced the speed of business, and facilitates simple communication.

But keep feelings and arguments out of print, electronic or otherwise. The printed word can be copied but the spoken word flies away into the wind (unless of course you are recorded).

If you want to change somebody’s mind, call them or better yet meet in person. Face to face dialog is the best way to resolve issues. You can look into someone’s eyes. You feel their body language. You might even better understand the other party’s thoughts and they will probably understand yours. And you often can bring sensitive issues to an amicable resolution.

But even in the circumstance when you want to confront someone directly who is being a jerk, do it in person. Not in email. Get in their face and speak your mind. Tell them verbally how wrong they are/hurt you were etc. You might get an apology and/or you might feel better for letting off steam. You might gain respect from the other party who thought you were a doormat. But in any case, even in a confrontational situation, the spoken word flies away while the written word remains forever.

Just remember, electronic communication is like an elephant….it never forgets!

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