Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Woodbridge, Connecticut Rotary Club about mediation and conflict management. We discussed tips for preventing conflict, reducing conflict, and resolving conflict.
One particular point stood out. I often talk about the great dangers that accompany the great benefits of email. We’ve all heard about the huge percentage of communication that is not contained in the words we use, but that is conveyed by our tone of voice, the pacing of our speech, facial expression, body language, and more. All of these factors, of course, are different in our email communications. Different because we get none of these in the message that is sent to us electronically. In the best of circumstances, we may be puzzled. In the worst of circumstances, when conflict has already started to do damage, we might assume the worst and assign very negative — and possibly inaccurate — meanings where they don’t belong.
So, remember to be careful in your writing and your reading of email messages.