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IIBA.org Professional Development Knowledge Centre Articles Real Words that Work: Emails

Don’t get sucked into email anger

“How do I answer if I receive an aggressive email?” I was asked during a recent
BA Effective Communications Webinar. Good question. How would you respond to the following (real) message?

WHY DON’T YOU ASK HIM YOURSELF?

Guideline:
Even though your blood pressure probably rose, and you started devising methods of retaliation, do not follow though with a scathing or sarcastic response. Angry exchanges can easily escalate into relationship breakers, no matter who started the nasty chain. Remember that a series of capital letters equals a shout-in-the-face, and that irate words accompanied by a smiley inflame the situation further.

Fix:

Take as many deep breaths as you need to calm yourself. This process might take a day.
Decide if you need to reply (the example didn’t merit a response).
Fill your answer with neutral information, not emotion. Ask a colleague to check it for tone.
Ask your manager to hold a short team session on appropriate email behaviour.

Let’s all make a spring resolution to take the high road even if others don’t.