A good mantra for communication – always, but especially now that so many are remote – is to RESPOND rather than to REACT. It’s a sign of Emotional Intelligence to be able to modulate your emotions, and replying calmly to emails or messages is a great time to put that into practice.

Sharing your emotions without the buffer of time or context rarely advances the conversation in a productive way. If you respond to a message with an open mind instead of drawing conclusions, you are more likely to gain understanding instead of escalating the drama.

I used to have a supervisor who was notorious for firing off email rants late in the evening, thus starting our day on a sour note. Instead of seeking clarification, the email insinuated that we had done something wrong and we were taken to task without an opportunity to clarify. I’m not sure it helped anyone.

Make it your practice to assume a positive intent rather than ranting in your messages. A mature response can go a long way toward fostering productive dialogue and preserving your relationships.


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