Don’t hit the Send key…

You’ve just written a blistering rebuttal to your boss’s critique of your report. You’ve explained in detail how what you wrote is on-point and he should see that. It felt really good to write it – But hit the Delete key instead of the Send key on that e-mail.

Turn this painful opportunity into a wining one by walking into your boss’s office for a face-to-face dialogue. Ask questions about the report’s deficiencies. You also have an opportunity to explain “what you were thinking” when you wrote that section your boss found lacking. Not only have you offered your boss the opportunity for a “teachable moment” but you’ve demonstrated a willingness to learn.

This is just one of many communication options that take place every day. We’re way too busy to walk down the hall or pick up the phone to call – assuming you didn’t get voice mail – so we shoot a quick e-mail message. What doesn’t travel with the message is your tone of voice, your facial expression or body language, or your gaze. If only they could be attached to the message like a file – then there wouldn’t be so many misunderstandings. The other piece of the transaction is how those pieces of information are filled in by the reader – who has a different experience.

This is a perfect example of the adage “In the absence of data, we fill in the blanks – usually with our own worst fears.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m as big a fan of e-mail as anyone – for the right reasons – scheduling and other data-driven messages. Never to resolve a problem or explain misunderstood behavior. If you want to resolve something, save it for a F2F.

Michael Shapiro
Dynamic Management Solutions, Inc.


2 Responses to “Don’t hit the Send key…”
  1. chrislrob says:


    I like the idea of remembering that, although your email might seem “clearer” than you could be in a F2F conversation, and that it it might seem “faster” that a F2F, we still have to constantly ask ourselves, “Is it “better?”.

  2. sandrar says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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