Emails – the greatest thing that has happened for people personally and professionally and yet . . . . emails can be the worst thing too. So much time can be eaten away in responding to emails if the emotions are not parked on your desktop. Leaving the emotion on your desktop is critical to saving you a lot of time!
Short, concise and precise takes time – a lot of time to compose. It’s so easy to feel it, write it and send it but . . . oops! it wasn’t such a good idea . . . the backlash can be quite serious and . . . then . . . more emails!
Once, as a volunteer in an organization, I responded to an email with a lot of emotion. Well . . . that was a major, major mistake! The avalanche of emails went on for months, until, one day I just stopped. That was it! And my lesson was learned forever more . . .
To save time, when there is emotion attached to an email, I write it in Word. Let it all hang out. Then I let it simmer. The message is not sent until every ounce of emotion has been stripped from it especially if the initial impulse is to “let ’em have it!”. I cut the emotion out and stick with the facts.
- What’s the issue?
- What is the point I want to make?
- What solution do I propose or what suggestions do I have?
I keep the language precise, the sentences and paragraphs short, and rework it until I have every single ounce of emotion erased from the message. The goal becomes to move forward rather than become mired in emotion – mine and other people’s.
I can be a very calm person under stress and, on the other hand, I can be highly emotional especially when I interpret messages to be unjust, unfair, rude or someone is trying to get away with something. I can read situations, people’s hidden agendas and motives very well. As much as this ability is valuable, it can also stir up hurricane force winds of emotions.
Now, I make sure the first email is as colorless as possible! Think clear nail polish – you see the shine but not the flammable liquid!
When I’m ready, I copy the text from my Word document and paste it into an email, read it one more time, address the email and send. My message is “heard” better this way and I’ve prevented an avalanche of controversial emails.
Yes, it does take time – a lot of time to leave the emotion on my desktop but, in the end, it saves me a tremendous amount of time too! Sometimes, the message must be sent, ignoring won’t make it go away but replying to it emotionally may give other than desired results!
Take the time to save the time – write factual, short, concise, precise statements or questions and leave the emotion on your desktop!