Why Emotion Is Often Misunderstood In Email And Text Messages
November 27, 2014 Leave a comment
When we read email and text messages all day we are bound to misunderstand something. Knowing that misunderstandings are likely to happen and why are the best ways to prevent them in the first place.
4 Reasons Why Emotion Is Often Misunderstood In Email And Text Messages:
- Email and text messages are usually really short with not enough information, (so the reader is confused), or too long with too much information, (so the reader begins to skim).
- Email and text messages remove soft-stimuli/signals we get information from in face-to-face or telephone communication… like vocal inflection, vocal tempo, smiles/frowns and hand gestures.
- When we read we almost always see things first through our own feelings, needs and experiences. Then, if email empathy is one of our strong-suits, we make a leap of faith (which usually happens without even knowing we are doing it), to guess (using our own bias), what the other is feeling, needing and experiencing.
- When we write, we often see things only though our feelings, needs and experiences, we rarely stop to consider things that are critical for our readers, things like:
- How busy are our readers
- What is the really important information they need
- Are they reading on a computer or tiny smart phone/tablet
- What do they know about me and/or my situation
- What do they know about the language I am using (jargon)
What To Do To Make Sure Emotion Is Not Misunderstood
To make sure emotion is not misunderstood in our email and text message, when we write we should be sure to:
- Think of our readers needs and experience
- In most cases, avoid jargon and abbreviations (especially in business communication)
- Get to the need and action item quickly
- Manage our readers expectations
- Avoid trying to insert humour or sarcasm
- Reread before we hit send
Conclusion For Our Email And Text Messages:
Every email and text message we send impacts our professional and personal brand – it builds trust with the people we send them to… or tears trust down.
Since up to 90% of most business communication is by email (and some text), it’s critical to our brand – and our productivity that we make sure emotion is not misunderstood in your email and text messages.
Happy communication and writing.
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