How To Jerk-Proof Your Emails

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How To Jerk-Proof Your Emails

Maybe you are in a hurry. Maybe you are trying to be funny. Maybe you are having a bad day.

But none of these things matter to the person on the receiving end of your messages. When communicating through email,people can’t hear you or see your face. Therefore, you have to be extremely careful with how you word things. I know my biggest issue in writing is putting in you instead of your.

I try to always keep a smile on my face whenever I draft emails (especially when I am angry). Still, sometimes that doesn’t cut it, and I have to be reminded of some common email etiquette rules.

Case in point, here’s an email I sent recently in response to something I’d received:

“I don’t know what you are talking about. I am not an accountant.”

Now that I read it, I’m having a good laugh. I simply cannot believe I wrote it that way. At the time, I didn’t mean anything bad by it. I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful. I was just trying to explain that I was confused by the email since I am not an accountant.

But that’s not how it came across, and I can admit that. It reads more like, “You are wasting my time. Go bother someone else.”

I am really glad that the recipient pointed out to me how my note might come across to somebody who does not know me very well.

“People read different things within email messages. Read through your email again and tell me just how it sounds.”


Here are a few suggestions for jerk-proofing your emails:

  • When you write email, put a smile on your face. A lot of the time it will come through in what you write.
  • Prior to hitting send, read your email aloud.
  • Ask yourself, “Just what would I think if someone sent this email to me?”
  • Sarcasm doesn’t translate properly via email. But if you absolutely must use it, make sure it is clear.

Using these simple tips has helped me seem like less of a jerk in my emails. Has this ever happened to you?

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