Check Before You Send


The vast majority of electronic messages that executives receive are relatively routine. But there are some that qualify as "smoking e- mails ," which have the potential to ignite a full-fledged blaze. These are the ones that require careful handling. We suggest that, while crafting your response to a potentially incendiary e-mail message, you run through the checklist provided in Figure 6-1.

start figure

If you are the recipient of a "smoking e-mail," the following checklist can help you to defuse it. As you prepare your response, ask yourself these questions:

  • How do I assess our relationship: Is the sender of this e-mail a double- dealer , opponent, loyal opponent , or partner? Given his/her position, what is the best way to frame your response?

  • What information is the sender trying to convey ? What feelings are behind the message?

  • Do I need to ask the sender for clarification before I can respond?

  • How can I best paraphrase the sender's message so that he/she is aware that I've gotten both the objective and emotional messages?

  • Is my response clear and to the point? If I want the recipient to take action, is that clearly stated up front?

  • Have I stated my case/made my requests in an objective, nonjudgmental way, or does my response contain hidden messages and veiled accusations?

  • Are the language and references that I have used appropriate, given the ethnic background, religion, and physical location of the person I'm responding to?

  • Does my response include any confidential information that should not be shared with the individual to whom I'm writing?

  • How would I react if I were the recipient of this response?

  • Who, if anyone , should receive a copy of my response? Why do I want him/her/them to see my response? What will be the possible repercussions if I send copies to these people?

  • Is there any way in which I can make my response friendlier or more personal?

  • Would it be appropriate to include some positive feedback in my response?

  • Is the response I'm preparing more likely to increase or decrease the tension level between me and the sender?

  • Would it be better to try to resolve this issue over the telephone or in a face-to-face meeting than in an e-mail?

end figure

Figure 6-1: Checklist for Preparing E-mail Responses.



When Goliaths Clash. Managing Executive Conflict to Build a More Dynamic Organization
When Goliaths Clash: Managing Executive Conflict to Build a More Dynamic Organization
ISBN: 0615198686
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 99

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