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Continued from Previous……
Before the emails and WhatsApp messages rob us of our sanity, we urgently need to consider the following steps.
WhatsApp Forwards Should be Stopped
Please do not forward any message even if it says you will burn in hell if you do not send it to ten people. Hold your ground. Do not let WhatsApp take control of your life. Only messages with a public safety alert may be shared; all others should preferably be discarded and deleted right after seeing.
WhatsApp messages are an invasion of privacy. No one has the right to keep sending unwanted bulk of messages, no matter how well intentioned these may be.
The never-ending chain of ‘Forwards’ must be killed. Even if you loved it, it does not permit you to forward it to one or many people. The digital junk created by WhatsApp is currently among the largest ones.
Emails Should be Avoided for Trivial Matters
Every time an email is written, the question should be raised if it is necessary. Sitting in the same office, many things can better be understood by either talking on phone or walking over to the table of the other person and talking face to face.
Trivial emails form a large bulk, and many times are one or two lines. There are questions and counter questions and more questions. To add insult to injury, there are several people in copy which is filling inboxes of so many people unnecessarily.
I would like to include those emails also in this category which are written just to score a point or to settle a score. The former is a descriptive projection of a deed done, disregarding its importance; the latter is to show that we don’t take things here lying down. In both cases, larger audience is in copy. Ironically, all readers clearly understand the intent behind it and the desired effect is rarely achieved.
Important Emails Must be Reviewed Before Sending
How do you feel when you receive an email on a very important subject and it is fraught with many mistakes? There are two kinds of bad feelings. One, the subject matter explanation may have been affected and some effort may be required to extract the real thing; two, there is a strong resentment against the sender. If you are in the same organization, you may talk on phone to clarify but if it is between two organizations, no one will bother, and a big opportunity may be lost. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common.
All important emails must be reviewed for content clarity, grammar and spellings. Period. There can be no discussion on this as the matter is critical. The primary benefit is that your point of view gets across clearly. Other benefit is that your image will get better.
Critical emails such as resignations, whistleblowing and raising serious objections to some project must not be sent immediately, even after reviewing. Such emails must be kept for at least a day, may be more, if time permits. The email drafted today should be reread tomorrow when a different mindset may be prevailing, and you may need to make some critical changes.
When we are writing resignation, even if it may have been a thought-out act, we get emotionally involved, and the emotions may be anger and sadness. Same is true for whistleblowing where fear is added to emotions. Raising objections rouses emotions of anger and disillusionment. Whatever the emotions, these tend to cloud our thinking. When we commit our thinking to words, our initial pressure is released. When we read it next day, we are more calm and composed and we are able to see it from a different angle. It is highly likely that some paragraphs will be rephrased and one or two may even be deleted altogether and it will be good for all concerned.
Call it an advice or a request, but the number of recipients must be reduced to the bare minimum. Unnecessary copies do not add value, these rather reduce the value. Just because it is easy to do, it should not be done. I compare it to WhatsApp forwards, which are now universally disliked. Please make sure you send email to concerned people only.
Digital communication is the way of life already. We may have some other form of it in future, but it will still be digital. We must continuously strive to learn and improve our communication in the digital arena.
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