Email is a great communication tool. Or, should I say Email has the potential to be a great communication tool if used effectively?!
The bad parts of communicating via email:
1) You can't hear 'tone' in an email. Unless, YOU USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. ARE YOU YELLING AT ME?!
2) You cannot communicate 'intent' via email
3) You can't clarify mis-interpretations.
I know there are many other challenges in communicating via email.
I have heard that you should never go to the grocery store when you are hungry. (That doesn't work with the liquor store!)
I suggest that you don't send emails when you are upset or angry. Once you hit that 'SEND' button, it is tough to get it back. Sure, you can try to 'recall' the message, but normally that is too late.
Abraham Lincoln was a wise man. Obviously, he didn't have to deal with the challenges of email, but he did use letters to communicate. If he was upset when writing, he had a fantastic approach. He would write his letter, store it on the corner of his desk, and then come back and read it later. This would give him time to clear his head, and be sure that he wanted to send the letter or re-write it based upon what he 'heard'.
Last night, I got my Irish up and started to type a heated email. I chose not to hit the SEND button, stored it in the DRAFT box, came back and read it an hour later, and was thankful that I did not send it. I hit the DELETE button instead of SEND! There have been other times that I have sent communication and regretted it.
So, when it comes to sending email, be Abraham Lincoln.
Have you ever sent an email that you regretted and it resulted in a damaged relationship? Or, even better, have you typed one, reviewed it, and NOT sent it to save a relationship?