Do people mean to write angry email?

Very often people don’t mean to write angry email

Business success is often built on old fashioned values like honesty, hard work, great products / services and… effectively listening to and speaking to your clients. But more and more, newly adopted methods of communicating like email and Instant Messages are getting in the way of our ability to build trust and long-term client relationships.

Challenge #1: A majority of our listening to and speaking to our clients happens via email.

Specifically, the problem is that email and Instant Messages remove senses we use in one-on-one conversation – senses like vocal inflection, hand gestures and facial expressions. When these senses are available they offer our readers valuable insight into what we mean by the words we are using – information like are we stressed, angry or being funny. Without these senses our email messages often sound angry / bossy.

Challenge #2: Perspective – and this is actually the cause of many email challenges.

All too often we write email so quickly we only consider our own perspective. We forget to consider the needs (and workloads), of the people we are writing to. Pushing out one dimensional messages that appear self-serving negatively impacts:

  • Our personal reputation
  • Our ability to get our messages read (and therefore our productivity)
  • And not too long after – our business success

There are ways to compensate for the one dimensional email. One of the techniques I teach is how to use a polite / warm greeting and what greetings are proper for a business relationship.

Why people do write angry email 

When people are intentionally abrasive in an email it’s often like an alter-ego takes over. In most cases, if they were speaking to you in person or on the phone they would not be aggressive – in fact they may actually be pleasant and more… patient.

So what happens via email? The answer is that tools like computers or smart phones act like barriers – they create a feeling of “safety” and a false sense of entitlement. Add the stresses and workloads we face it’s no wonder that abrupt, angry email are becoming more and more common.

Just because they are more common doesn’t mean they impact our personal and corporate reputation any less. Our business success is suffering.

Give yourself a break – step back and re-read your message from a receivers point of view – someone who doesn’t know as much as you. How does it sound? Will your reputation survive it?

With a bit of guidance and practice, everyone can write even stern email so that they don’t negatively impact their personal and corporate reputation.

Happy communication and email writing. 

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness. Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen. Click on the image to the right to watch us on Canada AM. I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

One Response to Do people mean to write angry email?

  1. Bryce Winter says:

    Brilliant and thoughtful article, Bruce.
    Well said!


I’ll enjoy reading your thoughts and your experiences.

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