Don’t Hide Behind the Terminal: Fire - Email Survival Skills: Survival Tips Compatible with Microsoft Outlook 2010 & 2013 (2015)

Email Survival Skills: Survival Tips Compatible with Microsoft Outlook 2010 & 2013 (2015)

Don’t Hide Behind the Terminal: Fire

No one would go on an outdoor adventure without a way to start a campfire. Just to be on the safe side I would pack regular matches, waterproof matches in a waterproof container – and something to strike the match with – and an entire package of cigarette lighters, just in case we needed a bonfire.

Without realizing it, email can become a bonfire if you send messages written in anger, criticizing an employee, rejecting an idea, giving an undesirable employee performance review or containing countless other negative statements you may not have uttered if you had been face-to-face.

Don’t hide behind the terminal.

Email bonfires are also caused because of imprecise interpretations. The reader cannot see the twinkle in your eye if you are gently teasing or catch a sarcastic tone of voice. If these nuances are not clear, human nature makes us assume the worst.

To reduce the frustration you feel inside, go ahead and write an angry retort you feel the sender deserves – then delete it! In past decades we would say to write it and throw it in the fire.

To avoid email bonfires, never try to manage employees by email. Resolve this very moment to never communicate sensitive, emotion laden messages by email. Pick up the phone and have a real conversation or make an appointment and walk into their office. Never have a sensitive conversation in the hallway or the break room.

Sensitive and emotional conversations need to be had face-to-face so you can read the body language, listen to the tone of voice and look into the eyes. Only in a person-to-person conversation do you comprehend the entire story. When you read their eyes, you can tell if there is critical information they have not shared. Once you have the entire story, you have the luxury of negotiating options and working for a solution that satisfies both parties. Stephen R. Covey is famous for urging us to look for win/win decisions.

Be upfront. Be honest. Be transparent and use these tips to avoid email bonfires. You’ll be glad you did because bonfires can quickly use up all the hydration and good that you spent years creating.