Emailing? Mind emotions and identity.

To effectively communicate with others, you need to consider at least three aspects of communication.

  • Content: What is it that you’re saying? Is it clear and well explained?
  • Emotion: How do the people involved feel about the topic? Are they vested in the topic? Do they care?
  • Identity: How do people think this message reflects on them? Does it make them feel and look competent in the eyes of others? Or do they feel threatened and that it reflects badly on them?

Often, we think solely about the content. “If I’m right, others will see the wisdom and accept my logic.” This may be OK in the short term, or for topics where others aren’t heavily vested in.

But we are human. As you ignore emotions and identity in your day to day communications, you create emotional drain and anguish to others. This often festers into negativity, which poisons relationships.

Alternatively, by being mindful of other’s emotions and identity you build stronger relationships. You harvest kindness and benevolence from those around you. It is then possible to build strong collaboration on a foundation of goodwill and trust.

So, reconsider whether email or text is appropriate to discuss that thorny issue. Consider what it could do to your relationships, if you instead take time upfront to ensure that your message is received as intended. Ensure that the content is understood. Choose a delivery method that addresses emotions (known and unknown). Mind that everyone involved feels heard and good about themselves.

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