《Avoid Emotional Language in Email》
（文╱Robert Tolmasoff）Word choice and phrasing is even more important in email than in other forms of communication. It is best to avoid words or phrases that could be misinterpreted or which could damage our professional image.
Take a look at the example below.
You sent the report late again, as always. This behavior is unacceptable and is not something that I can accept.
While every statement in the email above might be correct, the writer should pause and evaluate the language in the message. There are some key elements to remember to ensure messages are written using neutral language.
1. Is the message written using the correct perspective? In the first sentence in the message above, the writer states “You sent the report late again…”. This will sound like accusation, and should be reworded to be neutral. Whenever the statement is negative, try to change the subject of the sentence from “you” to “I”. In this case, the sentence could be reworded to “I received the report late again.”
2. Avoid using absolutes in email. When we are upset, we tend to exaggerate, and one way to avoid this is to eliminate absolutes, such as “always” and “never”.
3. Eliminate statements that appear threatening. The last sentence in the email could be thought of as a threat, and statements such as “I cannot accept” should be eliminated from email.
4. Focus on solutions, not problems. Absent from this email is any discussion of finding a solution to a problem. Including positive language about finding a solution will help open the communication and encourage the flow of ideas.
So what would a better version of the original look like?
I received the report again, and it is very important that I receive the report on time. We need to work together to find a way to ensure that in the future I receive the report on time.
It is easy to get upset about a situation, and quickly write an email. In general avoid writing email when you are upset. Take a few minutes to relax, draft an email, set it aside, and read it again later before sending the message.
Every message we send is a reflection of ourselves. Read every email before sending it out, not just for grammatical accuracy, but also to ensure that we have conveyed our message in a professional manner.
Robert Tolmasoff is a trainer, editor, and author based in Taipei. His clients include international companies as well as individuals looking to sharpen their communications skills. Robert’s last two books, 上班族完美英文e-mail輕鬆寫 and 1000 Essential Business English Terms, are available in books stores and from McGraw-Hill Taiwan. Have ideas for future columns or questions? Email Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org
(PHOTO via Frank Farm CC Licence）