Monday, December 8, 2008


After a lot of thought , Ive realized that updating and maintaining a blog isn’t exactly what you term as “easy “ by any stretches of imagination .Honestly speaking , Ive been a bit busy over the last few weeks and just did not get the time to update my blog . In other words I was just lazy.

Well, coming to the topic, if you are a corporate creature,you would quite easily relate with emails going back and forth and you would have wished that your boss would pay you for reading those emails .There would have been times when you must have felt you’re your cozy little work station is some kind of battle ground and you have to keep ducking , defending and punching from and to emails .This,in no way am I suggesting that Emails are a bad medium of communication . Since its arrival , emails have successfully eliminated time and geography as barriers and has changed the way we do business and more importantly its easy to use and is very simple .Like for all good things in life , the strength of an email is also its weakness. Since it is so easy to use , it becomes very easy to misuse as well .

It is very easy to misinterpret the term” communication” and send emails based on what you think is communication . Sometimes you should know when “not” to send an email as opposed to how to and when to send an email .Since emails are ubiquitous and immediate, its easy to get caught in the heat of the moment and draft in something which you would not necessarily feel proud of when you think of it later .I can think of a few scenarios where I have lost my cool and sent in replies to emails which I can never be proud about and I am sure there would be many who can relate to this . There have been instances where the content of emails falls way below standards and you wonder if this is communication .

I am a big fan of “sarcastic humor” but when sarcasm takes over emails ,it creates a lot of stress, both to the sender and the recipient. The sender expects a reply to his email and keeps checking his emails every 5 minutes while the recipient goes through the pain of reading the email an is under pressure to reply aptly.In both the cases there is stress and a lot of unproductive time being spent.

The risk involved in sarcastic emails stems from the fact that you leave the level of sarcasm to be implied by the recipient.So based on the situation and emotions involved the recipient may well read way too much in to the sender’s email and misunderstand its content. Most times misunderstandings could have been easily avoided if one side or the other did not:

1. Assume what the other meant.
2. Read into an e-mail what wasn’t there.
3. Take the time to be clear about their intent and tone.

There have been more than a few times when I wish that I had thought twice before hitting that dreaded “reply” button.Well somebody said “experience makes you a better person” but the trouble with experience is you don’t get it when you want it .So let me give whoever’s stumbled upon this post an honest suggestion. Before you hit the reply button , sit back and reread the entire email for its intent and tone .If you are very upset , don’t even dare to reply to that email at that moment ;give it some time .

Some use emails to show how busy they are at work . Believe it or not having 300, 500 or 1000 messages in your inbox can be a source of pride that defines how busy and important you are. Well its almost like saying “I pretend to work for my Boss and my Boss pretends to pay me “.

Well , The trick is to manage our time on emails rather than the emails managing us .What I have learned from experience(and some pretty painful ones at that ) is to know which emails needs to be preserved as a document . I just delete the rest and it gives me immense pleasure while doing the same .

Rohit Oonnikrishnan