If you were ever a kid, you probably remember Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarf’s song, Whistle While You Work. Keeping a happy attitude solved everything.
And though I truly believe that is true most of the time, there is one time that it absolutely, positively provides a false sense of confidence: Email.
Those of us who see the glass as half full, hear our own happy voices as we compose our emails. We talk our words out loud (which thrills our cubicle mates), smiling as we go (I’m doing it now!), practically singing, as we lovingly type, “Here you go,” or “Okay!” But our readers, they aren’t whistlers. And they aren’t hearing our happy tune.
Recipients don’t give writers the benefit of the doubt. (Do you or do you jump to negative conclusions, too?) Before sending your next happy missive, ask yourself: Is there any chance the reader can misunderstand my intent? How can I write this so s/he understands I’m thinking of them and not just of myself?
How’s this: Write as if you’re writing to Grumpy to keep everyone Happy.