Consider the email chain below. I’ve assembled it in sequential order and bracketed out some parts that are not public.
On Feb 8, 2012, at 10:56 AM, David Cohen wrote:
[Something great is happening to me that I never expected – redacted]. Who knew.
Can you send me [the address I need – redacted]?
On Feb 8, 2012, at 11:14 AM, Mark Solon wrote:
On Feb 8, 2012, at 11:15 AM, David Cohen wrote:
On Feb 8, 2012, at 11:17 AM, Mark Solon wrote:
On Feb 8, 2012, at 11:18 AM, David Cohen wrote:
On Feb 8, 2012, at 11:20 AM, Mark Solon wrote:
On Feb 8, 2012, at 11:21 AM, David Cohen wrote:
It would have been easy to read Mark’s “I did” comment as him being a bunghole. To me, he was saying “Dude, I already sent you that information so here it is again” and my initial reaction was that Mark was cranky and having a bad day. But the mistake in reading the tone was 100% mine. Mark was just complimenting me, saying “I knew” that this [something good] was going to happen to you. Essentially, he was saying it was no surprise to him that I was have success with something. He meant it 100% as a compliment, but it came across to me as a rude tone in email.
We all use email for very quick communications today. Keep in mind, any tone you attribute to a message is generated entirely by your brain, and not by the sender. Right now, are you attributing what I’m saying as “preachy” in tone? Or as a simple attempt to be helpful? It’s impossible for you to know from the word written here. Hopefully I get the benefit of the doubt.
Give the sender the benefit of the doubt on tone. Assume email has no tone.