Most of us know how the story of how Abraham Lincoln often vented his anger by viciously scribing his thoughts in a letter to the offender and then never sending the note.
In 2012, we are rarely writing letters. Arguably the greatest communication-enabling invention since the telephone, email facilitates fast, efficient communication. With this new ease of correspondence, Lincoln’s example is often forgotten and e-missiles are fired around the internet.
Emotionally charged letters often hurt the recipient; sometimes they hurt the sender. Responding via email not only escalates the potential damage (as things are copied, forwarded, and blind copied) it fuels the fire rather without fixing the problem. Don’t you wish you could put an end to angry emails and build a bridge with the sender?
Stop the barrage of angry emails by:
Take a breath, get a drink of water, or go for a walk. I like to go work out and/or read my Bible.
Getting the Details
Is there any justification for their reaction? Give them the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t you want the same?
Printing the Email
Make the decision that this will not continue via email. The buck stops here.
Sleeping on It
In order to quell emotions, take a whole night to calm down. You may even seek counsel from someone completely unconnected to the situation.
Requesting a Meeting
Send them a letter thanking them for expressing their concern and request a meeting time or walk down to their office and calmly ask, “Hey Bill, I just received this email from you and I am confused. I read your letter like this…. What’s up?” 9 out of 10 times their boldness and passion disappears. 1 out of 10 times they will blast you in the face. That is life. Either way, the situation is now being handled properly. No to mention, I can almost guarantee they will not send many more emails like that.
Following Lincoln’s example with the Lomax twist might save you a relationship, your reputation, or may be even your job!
Have you ever taken an e-missle firefight into live peace talks?