“Their desire to get things done may mean that they ignore the niceties, the softer issues, and they tend not to be so well tuned in to how other people are feeling.”
I’m not proud of it, but that statement rings true! Not that I want to be a jerk (really, I’m a friendly person), but if I’m not careful, I can come across as cold and unfeeling when focused on a task. Yet, in my professional life, I gained the reputation for being an extremely diplomatic, thoughtful email writer. Someone who could broach difficult topics and still not ruffle feathers. So what gives?
- I’m aware of my natural tendency to ignore the “soft” stuff.
- Because of #1, I work hard to address it because I know it affects my relationships. Especially in email, being blunt or overly direct can be perceived as rude – and that isn’t how I want to be perceived.
- I recognize that email gives me the benefit of editing before I hit “send.” Instead of a blunt remark that might accidentally slip out of my mouth, I easily tweak or remove a harsh-sounding sentence from my email.
Why am I sharing this? Because you can take advantage of the same three steps to smooth out rough spots in your emails. Be aware of your natural tendencies and address the ones that harm your effectiveness by learning corrective techniques and editing your emails. Let’s be clear - I’m not advocating that you shy away from your personality. However, your tendency to be direct doesn’t give you license to be rude. Or just because you aren’t a linear thinker doesn’t mean you can’t try to present information in an organized way. For help smoothing out these areas, check out past posts on Tone and Organization (read the 2nd solution).
Once you are familiar with your natural tendencies (and if you aren’t already, now’s a great time to get feedback from your boss and some trusted coworkers), embrace continual improvement of your skills. What might seem unnatural at first will become second nature over time. Have a specific area you’d like covered? Leave a note in the comments or reach out to Cheryl@EmailLemonade.com to let me know how I can help!