I just read a great overview on the emotions email can generate summarizing an article recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. You gotta read on. As much as we communicators think we know about our audiences, and their psyches, most of us are not psychologists.
Most importantly, researchers Justin Kruger, PhD, a professor at New York University, and Nicholas Epley at the University of Chicago, explain why email misunderstandings occur so frequently. They find that email correspondents overestimate both their ability to convey their intended tone when they email, as well as their ability to correctly interpret the tone of the emails they receive.
Here are a few of the key findings:
- Egocentricism is the cause, as people find it difficult to understand how others will interpret them
- As email becomes more prevalent over time, the probability of misunderstandings increases exponentially.
What to do?
- Read any email with even the slightest potential for misunderstanding out loud to yourself, to catch and revise any provocations.
- Pick up the phone instead of emailing if you feel even a smidgen of concern about the way your email may be interpreted.
Great tips on improving communication effectiveness. Put them to use today.
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