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There's No Excuse for E-mail Rudeness!

Charlene Rashkow, Guest Author

Do you remember your mother telling you that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar? Perhaps I am dating myself but the saying is actually quite good and still holds true. Trying to get the good stuff with nasty behavior will never win you the prize and while there will always be misunderstandings or lack of communication, effective results will never come about from nasty or unkind comments.

Please be assured that I am in no way implying a Pollyanna attitude for that is the furthest thing from my mind. What I am implying is using professionalism in all your communications.

There probably isn't a person alive who hasn't experienced times of total frustration along with an inability to resolve a difficult business situation. Now with more and more people communicating strictly via e-mail there seems to be an increase in aggressively communicated e-mail.

Perhaps since one is not seen, there is the thought that it won't matter but nothing could be further from the truth. There are consequences to this type of behavior that are far-reaching and very destructive.

Recently an e-mail came across my desk that absolutely bowled me over. Thank goodness it wasn't sent to me but was being shared for the unthinkable discourtesy, lack of professionalism and terrible language used by the sender. Granted, the person on the receiving end was not an easy person to deal with, but in my professional opinion there is a way to voice one's feelings without being objectionable.

I am a firm believer in sharing opinions and in being assertive but rude and crude communication is totally uncalled for and unnecessary. Besides, it shows an inability to effectively communicate.

We live in a time when things are troublesome in the world, where countries are pitted against each other at a greater degree than we have ever known. How we relate to each other in our professional dealings is of such critical importance and simply reflects how we are to our neighbors and our fellow and sister countries.

Aren't we capable of responding with some decorum? I encourage sharing thoughts and feelings by composing letters that tell the truth as you see it, but without being rude and unprofessional. Remember we all perceive things differently and therefore when telling the story, each would see it in their own way from their own perception.

To encourage some professionalism, these are some rules of thumb I would employ before sending an outraged, nasty e-mail.

1.  If a particular person or situation has upset you, start by taking a pause and silently counting to 10. Perhaps you could take a walk for a few minutes to cool down before addressing the situation.

2.  Be professional in your communications. If you are unpleasant or rude, the person receiving the communication will turn off immediately and will have a hard time hearing what you're saying.

3.  Try your hardest not to become defensive; pushing against will not result in resolution. If someone is expressing anger towards you, try to just receive it without defense. Later on when you've had a chance to calm down, you can respond.

4.  Be honest about your feelings but speak about you and your feelings and make every attempt not to put blame on the other person.

5.  E-mail is a wonderful tool for venting purposes so write out all your feelings but don't send the e-mail just yet. After you've released all your bad feelings, rewrite the letter with some diplomacy and tact.

You can't take back abusive language and you certainly can't retrieve an e-mail once you've hit the send button so use caution. In truth, you can send a powerful message and accomplish a great deal more if you write something that doesn't attack.

Often the person on the receiving end would like to know your thoughts but not the ones that come from a shark. Remember just because you aren't seen is no excuse for behaving badly. Your computer keyboard was not meant as a weapon but simply as a tool. Without the feedback of voice or body language, one cannot know the impact they're having on another person.

So when you get ready to send that e-mail be sure that you aren't sending a message that you wouldn't want one of your loved ones to receive. Show your professionalism by using "I" expressions rather than "You" terminology and above all else, do not abuse through e-mail.

Copyright © 2002 - Charlene Rashkow. Charlene Rashkow brings 15 years of experience as a Writing Stylist and Author to her creative efforts as a freelance writer. She has successfully helped companies and individuals reach their objectives by writing outstanding press releases, bios, articles of interest, business plans, resumes, web site content and all other forms of marketing material. She has recently launched an e-book titled "Movin' On Up" filled with tips for overcoming any business hurdle. You may contact Charlene at www.AllYourWritingNeeds.com or write her at Crwriting@aol.com. You can also call her directly at 310-514-4844.

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