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No matter where in the world, when I ask participants to tell me what they need to learn to make their day worthwhile, they say, “how to respond to a difficult email.”

My first response is: Don’t.

Don’t respond by email. Pick up the phone.

But when you can’t or when they won’t answer, here is what to do:

Change your backstory
The more rude, angry or frustrated the other person sounds, the more their ego is on the line. They’re scared. Maybe they’ll lose their job. Maybe they’re afraid they aren’t up to the task. Anger, frustration and inappropriate behavior almost always comes down to fear.

The more you can see their story, rather than their vitriol, so you can distance yourself and not take it personally, the more you can focus on staying solution oriented future focused, respectful and caring.

Stay positive
Wear the big girl panties and big boy boxers.

Someone has to take the highroad and it should be you.

Tell people what you can do, what is possible, what can work. Stay away from the negative.

And stay away from being seduced into just the transactional.

Remember email is a strategic tool, especially when dealing with unhappy people.

Show authentic gratitude.

No matter how angry the other person might be, begin your return message with gratitude to them for taking the time to write or for giving you the opportunity to respond.

If they hadn’t let you know, then what?

You’d have no possibly of service recovery or improvement.

The least you can do is begin with open heart and say “Thank you for taking the time to email.”

Take the highroad for their sake and your own.

For information on a customized email sales writing workshop for your group, please email or complete our quick Interest form to check Sue’s availability. Count on boosting productivity, professionalism and profits!

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