Your Voice

Your Voice: Reread and rethink before you reply

Remember to take a step back when stirred to respond to email

Your Voice: Reread and rethink before you reply

Have you been in a situation where you have received an email that made you really angry? What did you do? Did you fire back your response immediately? Most of us may have been there at some time during our careers. You ask yourself, “How do I respond to this email?” You are aware that the way you reply may impact you, your health, and may even affect your family life if you take it home with you. 


Therefore, we need to think twice before we reply. I know it is easier said than done, especially when you feel tension and you know that the sender is waiting for your response. However, always remember that responding angrily will do nothing to subside the tension, and can hurt you in the long run. 


I have been in this situation a few times and I have felt really sorry for responding so quickly to emails with the same angry tone. As you grow older and more experienced, you start to realize that you may need to reread such emails again, and even take a break and cool your mind before hitting that “Reply” button. If you do so, you will often realize that you were only reading between the lines and you were assuming that there’s more to it than just what’s there. 


One important thing that we need also to keep in mind when receiving similar emails is that we shouldn’t take it personally or feel offended. Remember that other colleagues or even your superiors, who are sharing the same work environment, might be under a lot of pressure themselves when they send such emails; we’re all human.


When you consciously stop yourself replying emotionally to negative emails, after a while you will start to write replies that demonstrate your professionalism and create fewer conflicts with friends and associates. No matter what happens, it’s best not to get angry or defensive in your responses. We should learn to stay cool and calm, and maintain good relationships with all our colleagues so that they can remember only the good things about us. 


We should think twice, not only when replying to such emails, but also to any negative communications we may encounter in life, at work, or even at home. We should train ourselves not to overreact so we can grow and bring out the best in ourselves and others.


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