Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

What do you mean, exactly?

I made an assumption, yesterday, about an email message I received. I thought I was being judged by the writer and that he was less than pleased. Later I re-read it, and for a few seconds I pondered the idea that perhaps I misinterpreted his message. Easy to do since we get to pretty much imagine the pace, tone, emotion and inflections in the messages we receive. And, of course, there’s our natural projection of our own insecurities about what might be meant.

After a phone conversation, the exchange was clarified—I was mistaken about the person judging me. This reminds me that email communications are tricky. Not only should I be careful about assuming what someone else is feeling based on their typed words, but as the writer, I also can’t assume that I’ll be interpreted accurately when I’m sending messages. So lately, when I sense the possibility of a conflict in an exchange, however covert, I pick up the phone. What a novel idea.


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