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5 times to avoid email

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in Business Etiquette,Centerpiece,Workplace Communication

avoid emailI have a love/hate relationship with email. But, as with any technology, there’s a downside. I’ve heard plenty of stories about an accidental “reply all” or inadvertent “forward” that caused embarrassment.

As a savvy admin, you already know that emails can be misinterpreted. An emailed message lacks vocal tone, facial expression and body language—all those cues we get through face-to-face communication. Taking the time to make sure your emails are clear and concise is well worth the effort. There are, however, five times when you must forgo email and deliver a message in person or, at the very least, over the phone.  If you can Skype, FaceTime or otherwise video chat, that’s even better than a call.

1.  Angry or irritated? It’s never wise to send any message until you’ve cooled off and can communicate clearly and professionally. Along the same lines, if someone’s sent you a scathing email, avoid the temptation to respond in kind and instead, pick up the phone. “I got your email and thought it best if we have a conversation, since so much can be misinterpreted via email and I’d like us to resolve this.”

2.  If you believe there’s any potential for misunderstanding, it’s just not worth the risk of sending an email. Pick up the phone.

3.  Concerned that your message might hurt the other person’s feelings? Perhaps you’re giving feed­­­back or critiquing a proposal. It’s tempting to avoid dealing with the potential emotional fallout by sending an email. Do the right thing and speak to him face-to-face.

4.  Some people take pleasure in peppering emails with snarky observations, belittling comments or other damaging statements they would never say in person. So, if your email contains something you wouldn’t say to the recipient directly, delete it. And if you’re the recipient of such an email, see No. 1.

5.  If you need to apologize, please don’t even consider doing it via email. Deliver your apology in person or, if that’s not possible, call the person. You won’t be sorry.

Colette Carlson is a Human Behavior Expert and Speaker who delivers funny and thought-provoking seminars to audiences everywhere. Learn how to speak your truth and stress less at www.ColetteCarlson.com.


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