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Hey, Watch Your Tone!

By Merle
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Along with the advent of the Internet came a new way of communicating called e-mail. If you spend a lot of time online and especially if you're running a web based business, odds are your main tool for communication is through e-mail.

Now e-mail is a wonderful thing. Don't get me wrong, but unlike the telephone or face to face communication, if you don't watch your words you can easily be mis-understood. It's all too easy to offend or even hurt someone's feelings just by what you type, even if that wasn't your intention at all.

Allow me to explain: When you're on the phone, your voice sets the stage for what you're trying to say. You raise your tone when angry and laugh or giggle when joking, so it's easy for the other person to understand the main focus of your message. When someone screams at you on the telephone, you know immediately they're angry, that or they just forgot to take their Prozac that day.

Face to face communication is another way we converse. Your body positioning, facial expressions and tone all work together to get your message understood.

But, e-mail is different. You need to remember there is no voice tone, facial expression or body language, making it harder to get your message across the way you intend. So next time you're in a hurry to respond to an e-mail keep the following tips in mind:

1) If you say something in a message and don't want it taken too seriously, add a well-known acronym "LOL," which stands for "laughing out loud," or type "just kidding."

2) Never verbally assault someone with obscenities or name calling, even if they attack first. Just because it's e-mail and you can't see the person face to face, remember there's a living breathing human being at the other end of that e-mail address who has feelings. Besides, you never know where that email may end up later on, which could embarrass you.

3) If you feel as if you cannot fully explain yourself in a message, tell the other person to call you at their convenience. Don't demand; ask nicely and say "thank you."

4) Always answer your e-mail within 24 to 48 hours. Not responding promptly shows a lack of interest on your part and is definitely unprofessional. By showing such a lack of respect you may easily anger the party who's been trying to get in touch with you. If you'll be away on vacation for any length of time set up an autoresponder that answers your mail and notifies the sender that you are away and when you'll return. If you don't know how to do this call your ISP for assistance.

5) Always spell check every message for accuracy. Bad spelling and grammar in a message can make someone form an opinion of you from that message, and it's not a good one.

6) Also never type in all caps as it means you ARE SCREAMING at someone. It's considered very rude.

E-mail is a quick and convenient way to communicate, but it's important that your messages are received as you intended. By following these tips when dealing with your e-mail you'll be thought of as a professional and a pretty nice person as well!

About the Author
Merle's Cyber Promotions (MC)
Creating Visibility Online for Small Business... because just having a site isn't enough. Visit the site to receive FREE e-books packed with marketing & promotional tips that will help your site get traffic. Also subscribe to MC Promotions Press Newsletter to subscribe


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