Top Tips on How to Deal with Nasty Emails

Emma Buckby

10 Dec 2015

Emails are a now an established (and often unwelcome) part of modern-day work and personal life. Not all emails, however, are pleasant. How does one deal with nasty emails? 

Whether an office necessity or a way of communicating with your bank, utility company or friends and family, one of the first things many of us do in the morning is check our emails. We all experience a certain rush when we see Inbox (X) unread emails waiting for us to open and discover their content. But what happens when the content is not what we expect?

The Nasty Email

Not all emails we receive are full of good news. In amongst the updates, news headlines, social invitations and the latest family photos remain unopened emails that may surprise or even shock us.

We all experience a certain rush when we see Inbox (X) unread emails waiting for us to open

While emails are a popular form of communication, they can also be a flawed communication tool. As emails rely on the written word, they are open to interpretation, often in ways that the sender did not intend.

Tone of voice, body language, irony and humour are often absent or misunderstood.  In an article recently published on The BBC website, the author recognised that words written in an email may impact the receiver in a way that the sender may not have anticipated let alone wanted.

 

The Decoding of Your Message

Words written in an email may impact the receiver in a way that the sender may not have anticipated let alone wanted

Whether we write without thinking or are just having a bad day, emails can have an impact that goes far beyond the sender’s message.  They may also seen as out of character with the sender, an extreme reaction to a mundane request, or could even insult the recipient.  So what should we consider before hitting the send button?

How to Encode Your Message Correctly

If you are genuinely angry about something and feel you must vent, then by all means, write your nasty email.  But don’t send it immediately.  Instead, leave it in your draft folder and give yourself some time to think about it.  After a good night’s sleep, you can reconsider what you wrote in a more objective light.

Other advice includes simply remembering that you are sending a nasty message to a person, not a computer screen.  Would you say the same thing to another person in person? It’s easier to hide behind that computer screen, especially when you know that any reaction to your email is also buffered by the impersonal computer screen.

Follow some simple top tips for writing emails and you will not go too wrong.

Remember Who the Sender Is

Emails may seem simple, but behind the words, they can complicate communication

Finally, remember that we all have bad days or perhaps have just received some bad news.  Sometimes, we are simply not feeling well.  If you have just received a nasty email, especially from someone who is not known for nasty emails, it might be worth considering there may be something completely unrelated going on in their lives that made them write out of character.

After all, it’s probably something we would do if we were speaking face-to-face, where we would probably be able to tell that something was not quite right.

Emails may seem simple, but behind the words, they can complicate communication.  Remember that it is up to you to use this flawed tool wisely, code correctly to ensure the message is decoded as you had intended.



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