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You Are Bold When You Bold Your Email

Email Etiquette and bolding certain text.

Today I opened my inbox to find this:

Judith… Did you forget to send my eBook? Or are you not working today? How about you reply ASAP???

Net [email protected] Site Visitor

As usual, my email address was not whitelisted (as I ask buyers to do), and the download link email was in their junk/spam box the whole time. I even have a note to check that on the same contact form they used.

A snarky demanding tone, right? With the cherry on the top by bolding just two words with a dash of extra question marks.

No doubt about it, if you make the extra effort to bold specific text in an email, you are bold. However, many underestimate how bolding certain words or sentences can make an otherwise benign statement one with emphasis.

To bold only specific terms or phrases certainly makes a point of making a point. To think otherwise is, well, silly. You’re bolding. Therefore the words bolded have more emphasis.

Level of Emphasis?

Then, if you turn that bolded word to red text — Yikes! Bolding plus red definitely emphasize those words even further. Then add multiple !!! or ??? and you are relaying an aggressive tone.

Here’s the thing. You cannot control the level of emphasis perceived by the recipient. So, plan on the person on the other side to perceive that emphasis X10 your intent.

Be very sure that this emotional and emphasized tone is what you want to relay before hitting send. To say after the fact that you “didn’t mean it that way” is a cop-out.

Own it.

By claiming you didn’t mean it simply reflects you are unable to stand behind your comments. And what you did mean to say when you composed that email.

Otherwise, why did you bold those specific words? Why did you change them to red?

Emotionally charged emails many times includes the bolding of certain words or phrases. This is because the sender wants to make sure the other side is clear about how strongly they feel — at that moment in time.

Word of Advice

If you find you are bolding several portions of an email (or hitting the keyboard with a little more oomph) because you do want to make a point, why not wait until the following day to see if you still feel as strongly?

You will probably be glad you did.

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