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What They Meant Was What?

Do Not Assume in Emails

I’ve had several site visitors email me recently in regard to dilemmas that had to do with interpreting what someone “meant” in an email they received. Big-time misunderstandings then ensued. Some irreparably so.

When the verbiage they were upset about was provided to me, in most cases I didn’t have the same take or reaction. Know why? Because I don’t know the Sender and did not read anything into the words used. I took the comments at their face value.

In regard to one particular email, I had proportionally the opposite perception than that of the person who was upset. They thought the Sender was rude – and I really didn’t see what was typed as a rude comment at all.

Emotions Come into Play

The comments provided were general in nature, in my view, and the recipient chose to take it personally. That is probably because I was not emotionally involved or do not know the other party well enough to “read in between the lines.”

You do know what happens when you assume? When it comes to email, try to avoid assuming what someone means. Take them at their word.

To read more into what is there based on either your feelings or what you “think” the other person meant is the basis for 99% of the misunderstandings that I am contacted about. Many times what is read into another person’s email is not at all what they meant. (Not sure? Ask before getting upset.)

Type it; You Mean it

Assuming can go both ways. You cannot assume the other side will know what you “meant”. You need to spell it out — clearly.

If you type it; you had better mean it. All caps, multiple !!! and ???, bold type. With the written word “I didn’t mean it that way!” simply does not apply. You have the opportunity to make darned sure that what you really mean is what you relay by virtue of the words you choose and how you choose to use them.

Take the time to choose your words carefully, use full sentences – don’t type in cryptic thoughts. Do not use multiple instances of punctuation. Practice proper grammar.

By just following these simple steps you will help avoid being misunderstood. You can avoid misunderstandings by choosing your words very carefully, and by using an 😉 , or “LOL” where appropriate to set the tone.

Home Your Writing Skills

In just a few decades, communicating with the written word has once again become mainstream. Each of us, regardless of our profession, hobbies or educational background, needs to learn how to communicate with clarity in our email.

Work at your writing and vocabulary skills, as I do each and every day. Then, read emotionally charged responses out loud before clicking send. You can then help to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings, be perceived favorably and will most likely enjoy your email activities more too!

Have you been caught up in a misunderstanding due to assuming from either side? How did you handle it? Tell me about it below…

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