I am constantly having to remind myself of this: emails have no tone. This is a very important thing to remember when running a business and one of the reasons I believe I have as many amazing relationships as I have ... here is a rule I follow, always:
>> When you read an email and have an impulse reaction to slap the person who wrote it .... pause and read it with ZERO tone <<
If your goal is to run a successful business, especially one where you have to work with brides, this is going to be super important to remember ... in fact, tape it to your computer monitor.
Why this subject, Heather?? Oh, you're so smart. I happened to have a f*cking ridiculous email experience today with a blog editor I was working on a submission with ... we were going back and forth about what was missing from the submission and what was needed ... I had a lot of confusion on my side and wrote an email that was supposed to clear up MY confusion ... apparently my NO TONE email to this editor came across as being snotty and condescending and she responded with a full on hinted attack on me through her email response.
>> And this is the issue. <<
What would have happened if she read my confused and trying to get clarity email with no tone and zero defensiveness on her end? She would have probably just answered my question ... instead, she did this: got offended, got defensive, got prissy, got controlling ... and fired back her own rude email to me. Now ... as a person who doesn't appreciate being attacked and talked down to, I replied with my own 'not nice' email back.
Why do people do this? EMAILS HAVE NO TONE ... so if an email appears one way, but doesn't actually come out with an attack or a comment that is truly rude, why do we as people automatically assume the worst? Is it because we already have issues or are feeling bad and anything that isn't super clear just goes all wonky in our brain and we go crazy? Was my 'trying to get clarity email' a little bit gray? Could it have sounded like I was being judgmental? I suppose! But it could have also come across as I'm a big dumb idiot and I need things to be made as simple as possible for me to understand how to do it right ... it could have also been written during a crazy time when my kids were jumping all over me and I hadn't had my coffee yet and I was in a hurry ... here are my rules of thumb when it comes to email *READING* >>
- Does the email call you a name? No? Just respond as usual.
- Does the email swear AT you and attack you? No? Just respond as usual.
- Does the email commit libel against you or your company? No? Just respond as usual.
- Does the email threaten you personally or make you feel scared for your life? No? Just respond as usual.
Too much time is spent emailing for us to insert our own tone into an unoffending email and then waste MORE time responding with an attack ... please people, just stop. Better yet!? If you are truly offended by the *tone* you have inserted into an email and believe the person is out to get you and is being a total b*tch then ask to hop on a call! You will probably find out 9 times out of 10 that it's in your head and things are fine in the world: the cupcakes are frosted, the grass is green, and unicorns are frolicking in the field.