I was reflecting on a recent conversation with my sister in law about someone who sent a farewell email to her entire company. We debated the appropriateness of this. It made me think of stupid things that I have done with email. I thought that I’d share …
Ever hit “reply all” by accident and sent a message disparaging someone? √ CHECK – This goes down as one of the most unprofessional and regretful things I have done. The back-peddling and crow-eating didn’t compare to the damage this did to my reputation. For more on Branding yourself appropriately click on this link
Ever tried to be funny/sarcastic using email and have your words received the wrong way? √ CHECK – I once sent an email to my Medical Classmates haranguing them for RSVPing to an event and bailing – leaving +++ wasted food. No biggie – the food went to the ER nurses lounge … so I was trying to be witty and sarcastic, but nevertheless the outcome was disastrous! Unlike words spoken, no one can see your smile or your expressions behind the words in an email. Sure emoticons exist – but they just don’t cut it.
Ever sent an angry email that you wish you could have clawed back? √ CHECK – We’ve all had those work issues that make us want to LOSE IT! For sure, getting riled up shows your passion, but it also makes you look emotionally unstable … Before you blast off online Try these three simple rules 1) Hit “save” … sleep on it and come back to it later. 2) Before hitting “send” run these emails by your spouse/a friend/colleague. 3) Consider NOT EVEN sending a reply at all [ especially if it won't really achieve anything other than allow you to vent]. This way you come off sounding measured, fair and mature despite being vexed.
There’s one oldie-but-goodie principle that should guide all your online interactions:
Like grandma always said – If you’ve got nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all.
Those that know me often hear me joke that the online version of me is a better person than the real-life me! What I mean by this is … I try to never flame or blame online. My guiding thought is “Don’t put anything negative out there” – this way you ensure that you’re always saying the right thing.
One last mistake I still find myself doing is:
Ever tried to resolve an issue using back and forth emails like ten times? [or texting back and forth for that matter?] √ CHECK – USE THE G-DAMN PHONE FOR WHAT IT WAS INTENDED!!! way more efficient