Are Your Emails Tone Deaf?

Did you know there is a tone to every email you send. Whether you know it or not the other side is assuming your tone based on what words you choose, how you use them, format them and your choice of punctuation.

It seems that quite a few folks neglect to take their email tone into consideration. What then happens is misunderstandings galore!

When you bold words that makes them bold in emphasis. You then leave the level of emphasis up to the person on the other side. Risky.

Then, proceeding to turn that very text red means you are making sure that text is not overlooked. Bold and red make an emotional statement and you then have tone oozing out of your email. Your mother will perceive the very same bold and red in an email differently than the same bold and red used in an email to a new acquaintance that may not know your personality or sense of humor.

Your perceived tone will differ based on how well someone knows you.

If you are typing about an emotional subject, it is wise to wait until you can do so in a less than emotional state. If you’ve enjoyed adult beverages — just walk away from the computer and don’t send a single email until the next day. You’ll thank yourself later if you put yourself through a minor waiting period in lieu of pounding out an emotional response on your keyboard and hitting your Send button.

One of the most dangerous tone “increasers” is overuse of punctuation. Why the heck do people use more than one exclamation point!!!!!!!! Don’t they understand that one question mark is enough????? Communicating in this way tends to come off as demanding and condescending. Just one ! or ? is enough.

When you are unsure if your email is relaying your intend tone and emotional strength, take a moment and read your email out loud as though you were reading it to the person you are sending to. You might be surprised at how your email “sounds” when read out loud. Use that opportunity to tweak your email so it is reflective of what you want to get across.

Ask yourself: “Would I say this, to this person, in this way, if we were face to face?” If you wouldn’t, then don’t hit Send. E-mail is not a tool to say things you don’t have the guts to say in person. Nor is it an excuse to hide behind this screen.

By keeping the above in mind you’ll have fewer regrets and be perceived as much more sincere, open and honest. That’s how you build and nurture relationships via email!

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