It is really important–particularly in email–to pay attention to how someone may read what you’re writing. Especially because they can’t see you and read your body language. One particular incident that I’ve seen is using “resent.” Do you mean “resent” or do you mean “re-sent”? The reader can’t tell from your body language what your intent is, so it is important to read your emails as someone else might read them.
If you think an email could be misconstrued, rewrite it. Personally, I think it is far more important that the information is accurate, things are spelled correctly, and everything is grammatically correct than that you impressed them with vocabulary.
Sometimes when people misunderstand your email, they fire back something in self-defense that they normally wouldn’t, which leaves you wondering what in the world is wrong with them.
Back in the “olden” days (before email), you had to write out a letter or note with what you wanted to say. Then you had to put a stamp on it, walk it to your mailbox or the post office, and wait for a response. That process gave you a little more time to draft, redraft, and draft again the perfect message. Today, we are moving so fast and trying to get so much done that we seldom slow down and really think about what we’re doing. Here are a few other things that come up in email that are completely avoidable:
- Don’t get too used to using the “shorthand” name entry for your emails. There could be more than one person in your contacts list whose email starts with “ks,” so you could end up sending it to someone you didn’t intend to, which could easily have disastrous consequences.
- Make sure the email address is spelled correctly. It is embarrassing to have to re-send an email just to the client because you got their email address wrong. Plus, anyone who hits “reply all” to that email will get a message that the client’s email didn’t go through and will either have to look it up or leave them off. Neither of those is a good option.
- Don’t fire off an email when you’re angry. You can write it out–but I would suggest you leave the “to” line blank–but let it simmer for a while. There is no better way to start an email war than to fire the first shot with an angry (and unnecessary) email. The odds of successfully recalling such an email are very, very small.
So drop the “lawyerspeak” and spend more of your energy making sure the facts are correct, things are spelled correctly, and your intent is understood. Email is certainly a valuable tool, but it is easily misused so be careful!