Don’t respond angry

 

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Inevitably, you’re going to get an e-mail from a supervisor, colleague or friend that angers you. You’ll be upset and want to respond using choice words. I had a supervisor who once called these kinds of e-mails 2x4s because, like in Saturday morning cartoons, they usually come out of the blue and smack you across the forehead.

 

The usual advice is to write those choice words and be angry, just don’t hit send. I’d suggest not writing the e-mail in the first place. If you must, write it out by hand, on a piece of paper. Michael Hyatt’s Stop: Don’t Send That Angry E-Mail advises this method as well. He, like many before him, has reread an angry letter only to later be embarrassed by what he wrote.

If you have the luxury, close the window, walk away from the computer and do something else. For 5 minutes, an hour or even better, overnight.

A Google search of “don’t respond angry” will take you to the Business Insider’s How To Respond To An Angry E-mail (And Not Let It Destroy Your Career) suggests offering to meet the sender face to face or at least over the phone. Conversational context can make the difference between a misunderstanding and intent.

Hyatt’s trusted advisers often as him, what are you trying to accomplish with your response? It’s a great question. The first answer might be to hurt the person’s feelings back. Childish, true, but it’s a reflex. Once you get beyond that, really ask yourself what you want to accomplish in the communication.

In summary, a commenter on Hyatt’s post, John Jackson, reiterates the phrase, “Praise in print, criticize in person.” If you follow that rule as closely as  the golden rule, you should save yourself from responding angry and regretting it later.

 

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Decisions, Decisions

I hate making decisions. I want to get everyone’s opinions and suggestions and thoughts before I commit to almost anything from what to make for dinner to an idea in the office. While this mentality ensures I’m not stepping on any toes, or making any one angry, it also means I can miss out when decisions need to be made quickly. This isn’t to say I can and don’t make a decision quickly when I have to, it means I fret over them until I close my eyes and jump.

Which brings me to the essential question, when did going with your instincts stop being a good reason to do something? Your brain processes information your conscious hasn’t had a chance to dissect. Maybe the reason you believe your colleague would be a great person to collaborate with is because your brain remembers how that person worked with someone else in the past or vice versa.

In this era of over information, having too much information or too many options can make making that decision ten times harder. I’m not the only one. The local Chamber of Commerce regularly hosts seminars or Lunch and Learns titles: “Pull the Ripcord – Discover a process that helps make tough decisions easier. Identify the type of decision you have to make, Isolate the decision objective and Initiate the Action.”

Sometimes, I think attending one of these would be good for me. Then again, I also think, what can they tell me that I don’t already know? I know I should listen to my instincts more often. I know I shouldn’t fret about a decision I’ve already made.

Have you attended a seminar for decision making? What did you think about it? How do you handle making decisions with an abundance of information available?