Don’t e-mail when angry - 5/27/2013

This is easy advice to give, but hard to follow. Here are some guidelines to help diffuse situations rather than throw gas on the fire.

  1. Wait 1/2 hour (at least) before responding and make sure you are calm
  2. Do not respond to the emotion, suggest some alternative solutions and ask some more alternatives. This approach diffuses tensions, re-focuses on the problem, keeps the door open for solution alternatives, and appears helpful as opposed to being combative.
  3. Switch away from personal pronouns to impersonal pronouns e.g. don’t use I, You, Me, They, Us, etc. instead “the situation” or better yet “the opportunity”, “the team”, “the project”. Switching to non-personal pronouns take away the emotional component.
  4. Take the conversion offline. Call key people on the thread, apologize that the thread seems to have taken a turn, offer help, be humble, and win them over. Again focus on alternatives, and ask for more alternatives from the participant.
  5. If there are behavioral issues talk to them 1:1 to see if you can resolve the issue before escalating to your boss (not theirs, yours) to see if they can facilitate. Always involve management in any situation between you and the customer even if you are able to resolve the issue 1:1.

Blog ID: 2013 05-27_Blog_144