One of my favourite Disney quotes is from the film Bambi, where Thumper’s mother asks him: “Thumper, what does your father tell you over and over again?” Which the cute little bunny shyly answers, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Keep this quote by your computer and look at it before you send that next quick and snappy email because you don’t have time.
I know we have all been there, you are about to rush off to a meeting when you notice an email from a colleague, staff member or client just asking a question that you know only needs a quick response and you can delete that email (ah it’s a good feeling having one less email in your inbox). So you quickly type a “yes” or “no” and delete and rush off to your meeting. Sure you answered the question but did you really answer their need…. Their need as a human being to feel respected? I doubt it.
People seem to forget there is another human being on the other end of your snappy response that may have time to get offended by your email. This person doesn’t see that you are over stretched and under resourced in your job; they just see this email and this will start to form/change your relationship with this person and it will definitely affect their view of you, your service and company.
The time you saved sending a quick and snappy email is not worth the damage you might cause, so like Thumper reminds us: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all….. Or at least wait till you do have time to respect the person on the other end of that email.
Dale Carnegie in his brilliant book ‘How to make friends and influence people’ states what he calls his “Human Conduct Rule” and that is to always make the other person feel important.
So ask yourself, am I? Before every email, telephone call or any contact with anybody, am I making them feel important? This question may save so many relationships that can (and I’ve seen it) break over a one worded email response.