Hey, Watch Your Tone!

Along with the advent of the Internet came a new way of
communicating called e-mail. If you spend a lot of time online and
especially if you're running a web based business, odds are your main
tool for communication is through e-mail.

Now e-mail is a wonderful thing. Don't get me wrong, but
unlike the telephone or face to face communication, if you don't
watch your words you can easily be mis-understood. It's all too
easy to offend or even hurt someone's feelings just by what you
type, even if that wasn't your intention at all.

Allow me to explain: When you're on the phone, your voice sets the stage
for what you're trying to say. You raise your tone when angry and
laugh or giggle when joking, so it's easy for the other person to
understand the main focus of your message. When someone
screams at you on the telephone, you know immediately they're angry,
that or they just forgot to take their Prozac that day.

Face to face communication is another way we converse. Your
body positioning, facial expressions and tone all work together to
get your message understood.

But, e-mail is different. You need to remember there is no
voice tone, facial expression or body language, making it harder to
get your message across the way you intend. So next time
you're in a hurry to respond to an e-mail keep the following tips
in mind:

1) If you say something in a message and don't want it
taken too seriously, add a well-known acronym "LOL," which stands
for "laughing out loud," or type "just kidding."

2) Never verbally assault someone with obscenities
or name calling, even if they attack first. Just because
it's e-mail and you can't see the person face to face,
remember there's a living breathing human being at the other end
of that e-mail address who has feelings. Besides, you never know
where that email may end up later on, which could embarrass you.

3) If you feel as if you cannot fully explain yourself in a
message, tell the other person to call you at their
convenience. Don't demand; ask nicely and say "thank you."

4) Always answer your e-mail within 24 to 48 hours. Not
responding promptly shows a lack of interest on your part
and is definitely unprofessional. By showing such a lack of
respect you may easily anger the party who's been trying to
get in touch with you. If you'll be away on vacation for
any length of time set up an autoresponder that answers your
mail and notifies the sender that you are away and when you'll
return. If you don't know how to do this call your ISP for

5) Always spell check every message for accuracy. Bad
spelling and grammar in a message can make someone form an opinion
of you from that message, and it's not a good one.

6) Also never type in all caps as it means you ARE SCREAMING
at someone. It's considered very rude.

E-mail is a quick and convenient way to communicate, but
it's important that your messages are received as you
intended. By following these tips when dealing with your
e-mail you'll be thought of as a professional and a pretty
nice person as well!

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