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Communication in Writing
Is the intended message getting through?
It’s easy to get the wrong idea from an email or text.
For example, I might send the message: “I need X completed and on my desk today.”
My intention is to ask the recipient to get X completed and bring it to me today. It seems simple, right? Straightforward and clear from my side.
But many, many people will read that text or email and think, “OMG—my boss is mad at me!”
That’s because text-based communication does not include paralinguistic cues—the letters on the screen do not convey my tone, my facial expression, my body language, or other cues. Without those cues, the recipient will often assume the worst—they infer the most negative potential version of the message.
If you are the sender of “clear and direct” messages like this, you can’t reprogram people for how they read these messages. You can, however, send the same message in a different way. Consider softening it up with “please,” “thank you,” “I really appreciate all you’ve done on this,” or other context cues. It only takes a few seconds, but it might save you and the recipient from hours of anxiety and/or drama.
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