Ever write something (with regard to business) that is extremely “emotional”?
Be it positive or negative?
Here’s a bit of advice when you’re initiating a communication or responding to one that really “stirs up your emotions”…
Put it in your “Drafts” folder & take a look at it again the following morning.
There are times when we just may be “too affected” by our emotions & inner feelings to “properly” communicate our stance on a particular situation.
I’m NOT saying that your feelings are “wrong” nor “misguided”…not in the least!
But when YOUR communication is filled with emotion, it may actually evoke an equally-emotional response on the other side.
Or there’s a good chance that your true message may get “blurred” as all the recipient sees is your emotional response.
By putting it aside, you’ll probably be in a different frame of mind when you re-read your draft.
“Hmmm, I may have gone a little over the top there.”
There were times when I wish I had a built-in 7 second delay like the one employed during live telecasts & broadcasts.
Once you’ve said something, you can’t take it back.
But it’s even more “dangerous” with written communications as you can’t convey your actual feelings with voice inflection, facial gestures & the like.
Jeeeez, Louise, if you hafta explain everything to the reader so nothing gets lost in the translation (like I do here sometimes 🧔🏻 🥊), then it kinda kills the whole purpose of doing it in the first place.
And if you put stuff down in writing & it’s pretty emotional, then you’re leaving it up to the other person to determine your true feelings.
Is he really mad? Is it as bad as he’s making it out to be? Just WTH is going on in that noggin of his?
It’s up to them to interpret any inflammatory words or figure out if you’re being totally truthful or whether there’s a certain degree of sarcasm or satire present.
Or if you’re just trying to make a certain impression on them.
But what, exactly?
It could be “dangerous” to leave so much stuff open to interpretation.
Think about stuff.
Give yourself the opportunity to take a second look at things…especially when you’re probably in a somewhat-different or emotionally-charged mindset.
Your current mood will often help determine how you react to things & circumstances around you…and once you put those feelings into writing, you can’t take them back.
Could be that you’re now done feeling as negatively about something as you did yesterday.
Or positively, for that matter.
Now that you’ve actually had the opportunity to put things into perspective.
Just give yourself the chance to “first think about it” before you hit the “Send” button.
(For my fellow dinosaurs out there, we used to take the written/typed memo & physically put it in the “Drafts” or “To be reviewed” folder.)
You wanna ensure that you’re giving the other person the “proper perspective” on how you feel & simply not “flying off at the handle”.
Emotions are great, but maybe, just perhaps, not all the time.
You may not want people to draw a conclusion based on how you reacted versus what you actually meant to communicate.
Be aware that other times, shows of emotion can be easily misunderstood.
Be careful. Yes, always be truthful, but there are, indeed, times & places where it’s wise to be a tad more diplomatic with your approach.
It’s a very fine line we walk sometimes.
Early on in my career (late ’70s), I remember reading a memo from Dick Kovacevich who ran NYB/New York Banking…as a VP, mind you.
Note: He eventually became President & CEO of Norwest Bank after leaving Citi. And when they merged with Wells Fargo, he was CEO of the combined Wells Fargo family & one of America’s best & most respected bankers.
And that was when Wells itself was actually a well-run & well-admired firm.)
He wrote this e-mail about the “current state of our branch system”. It drove him crazy that customers hadda spend most of their lunch hour waiting in line to see a teller.
The ATMs were still rather new (part of the HUGE “Branch 77” effort) & way underutilized.
But what really caught my eye is that he wrote in pen all over his own memo!
Put notes in the margin. Crossed off certain words/phrases & replaced them. Underlined stuff…threw in a few big ‼️here & there…yeah, showed people EXACTLY how he felt about stuff!
I thought it was the best memo I’ve ever read as he didn’t hesitate to get his message across…while carefully making people understand how he felt about the current state of affairs.
Was the original memo actually written by someone other than Mr. Kovacevich?
Quite possibly, but there was no absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the finished product reflected exactly how he felt!
He treaded pretty precariously on that ledge out there as I’m sure there were plenty of stuffed shirts who probably felt that it was “unprofessional”, not becoming of a man in his position.
And that’s EXACTLY my point!
Your written word, or any form of communication, for that matter, is only as good as how well it gets your point across to your audience.
You guys have any questions???
“So, Mike, did you follow your own advice when you wrote these pieces? Or when you were pouring out e-mails like a damned exploding volcano?”
Next question, please.
Thank you so much, once again, for listening.
(BTW, sometimes, I actually do it for effect…) 😉