Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The art of modern communication is an art indeed.

The tone of an email is important. Sometimes we get only one chance to communicate with certain people and need to take particular care to make sure our tone can only be interpreted as positive. Make sure there is some warmth in the words, and that you address the recipient with kindness and professionalism. If you’re having a particularly bad day, or if you're short on time, it’s better to put off correspondence altogether rather than risk shooting off emails that might cast you in a bad light.

On the other side of this thing, we have the recipient. It's not easy to receive an email in which the tone is terse, angry, or projecting some other negative emotion. It is up to us to give the benefit of the doubt. The originator might not have intended the email to sound negative at all. Indeed, they might have been busy and dashed off a reply without much thought of anything other than plowing through the next project weighing on their mind and stacked on their desk.

The lesson in all this is to be extra careful in our communications. Make sure you show your heart in your words. The use of an emoticon or acronym can go a long way to dispel the perception of coldness. If someone consistently puts out emails that you are interpreting negatively, bring the subject to the originator’s attention in a way that is both kind and helpful. They might not realize or intend for their fingers to sound as if they’re talking back.

Have you ever received an email in which you felt the originator’s tone was unpleasant? How did you handle it?


  1. Email, unless the recipient knows you really well, is hard gauge tone. Thats' why I tend to use so many smiley faces. :) So they can "hear" or see my smile and warm tone.

  2. So then do you consider it acceptable, when receiving a particularly unpleasant sounding email, to ask them, "Who peed in your Cheerios?"

  3. Oh sure, Bonnie. Next time I receive one I'll forward it to you and you can reply to them with this witty remark. How's that? LOL!

  4. We need a fifth choice: Responded in kind...then agonized over our un-Christlike behavior for days. :-)


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