Posts Tagged ‘email’

Do you remember when you were learning to ride a bike and it seemed so difficult you wondered if you’d ever master it? How about learning to read or write, do you remember struggling to read or write or spell words properly?

For most of us each of those tasks will have become second nature to us. I.e. We don’t even think about it when we jump on our bike, pick up a book or start writing a note. I was however reminded just recently that while I am able to read and write, there are still words that I come across which I don’t know what they mean or even how to pronounce them – My example is around an email I received from someone who simply indicated a meeting had been cancelled “due to an inquorate of people”.

Well the first thing I did was looked up “inquorate” as I had no idea what it meant or how it should be pronounced, but did assume it was to do with people and the meeting, but that was about all I could get from this email. It turns out all it meant was there were insufficient people available to attend the meeting – Why not just say that, why use a word that is not in the common vocabulary! It turned out that the other people due to attend the meeting also had to check what inquorate meant as they didn’t know either, so at least it wasn’t just me!

One part of my project we’re doing just now at work involves ensuring the system we are developing  is written in plain English. i.e. It is written with the reader in mind and with the right tone of voice, that is clear and concise. With this is mind, it really makes me wonder why some people feel it necessary to use uncommon or non standard words when there are simpler, every day words that would explain the situation or circumstance much better!

plainenglish

…is you don’t know the emotion or feelings the writer was experiencing when they wrote the email. Which in turn means it’s entirely up to the reader to determine how they think the writer intended the email to come across.

I’ve experienced this myself first hand a number of occasions, where people have completely misunderstood an email I have sent them, simply because they read the email thinking I’d meant to emphasis entirely different bits of the email than I actually did, or that I wrote it with particular thoughts and emotions in my mind. The result in a couple of occasions was devastating – People got annoyed and friendships where irreparably damaged, and even now, years on, I feel the pain.

Last week I was reminded of this again when someone commented to me about an email they had received, quoting the content to me and emphasizing particular words in it. They were annoyed at how the writer had worded the email, however having been told what the email said, I pointed out that I wouldn’t have taken the email to mean the same as they had. I asked if there were any words in the email underlined or emboldened, and was informed that none were. I then questioned why the person who was telling me this, had emphasised specific words in the email, as in doing this they had completely changed the meaning of the email.

So the problem with emails is that we rely on our own interpretation of the emotion put into the typing. When we are talking to someone, we subconsciously use what we see, in the speaker’s expression and what we hear in their voice, along with the actual words they are saying, to determine how we think they feel and the emotion they want to impart in their words. Unfortunately, when we send an email, the recipient only has our words to determine what they think we’re trying to express.

I’m continuing to try to be more careful when I write emails, and would urge you to do the same – Be careful when you’re writing emails that you leave no room for the recipient to misinterpret your words.

I was reminded last week that when you send an email, the recipient doesn’t always read your email in the way you intended. i.e. The tone of your email may come across completely differently to the reader than what you intended.

How can that be, the reader is reading exactly the same words as you wrote, so how can they take a differnt meaning/intention from them?

Sometimes I think it’s down to our choice of words; the mood of the writer; the mood of the reader; what the reader thinks of you. i.e. do they think you are confrontational, laid back, helpful etc?

We need to be carefully (I need to be careful) the words we use in written correspondence, the mood we’re in when we write the correspondence. i.e. Don’t ever send something that you have written when you are angry or annoyed, as you are likely to annoy or even hurt the reader which I’m sure is not what was intended.

Remember especially if it’s your first communication with the recipient that it will be the basis of their impression of you.

Just watch your words! After all other will make a judgement on the type of person you are based on the words your use.

A few weeks ago, one of my friends sent me an email which contained the following – I hope they bless and inspire you as much as they did me:

When I say that ‘I am a Christian‘ I am not shouting that ‘I am clean living.’
I’m whispering ‘I was lost, but now I’m found and forgiven.’

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name. 

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not holier than thou, I’m just a simple sinner who received God’s good grace, somehow!

Be Blessed, Be a Blessing!

Yesterday in Silence Is Golden I spoke about wonderful silence can be and how relaxing and peaceful it can be to surround ourselves with stillness and beauty. But have I jumped the gun, is silence really always golden?

What about when you’re waiting for an important phone call about the well-being of a loved one? That’s stressful, not relaxing.

Waiting by the phone to hear whether you’ve been successful in a job application? That’s stressful, not relaxing.

What about those who live alone and find they can go days without seeing or speaking to another person? That’s sad, not enjoyable.

What about when you’re struggling with life and you’re sitting at home alone, the doorbell and the phone never rings? That’s sad, and definitely not peaceful.

What about when you phone, text, or email a “friend” and they never reply to you? That frustrating and depressing, not enjoyable.

What about the homeless, who spend days and nights on the streets, alone, and struggling to survive? That’s tough, not peaceful or relaxing.

Just because we can enjoy the quiet and peaceful times of life, don’t forget that there are many others in our world for who silence means loneliness, not peace and beauty.

Please pray for those who are alone and in need of friendship and love, they need us!