Yesterday I shared a post from the editor of the purpose driven connection who wrote a devotional based on a sermon I preached at Saddleback Church this last weekend. There were two typos in his devotional and apparently typos deeply offend people.

Here are two responses that felt “nasty”:

“Now ‘their, there, and they’re’ can perhaps be confusing, but c’mon – for the kids who read the Devotional and caught the error, ‘ya think maybe your message was wasted? How about a nice proof reader?” John

“When discussing communications, it would be more effective if YOUR communication didn’t have several grammatical errors. The message is great, but the errors take away from its effectiveness.” Linda

Here are my “rules” with email:
1. Don’t write jerky emails…or emails that can be taken as jerky.
2. Tone is tough to identify in emails, so if you write something corrective, overdue with kind words so you’re not jerky (see below).
3. See rule #1

Here are two responses that felt “corrective & kind”:

“I really enjoyed your article… However, written communication is also very important. I don’t know whether you typed your message or someone else did it for you. But your grammar is incorrect

[she reveals the errors] I hope you don’t mind that I brought these errors to your attention. Have a wonderful day.” Daisy

“I really enjoyed your message today. Thank you so much. I am not trying to be obnoxious, but because this piece is about teaching your kids how to communicate effectively….there are two typos in your post today that jumped out at me. [she exposes them] I thought you might appreciate knowing this. Take care and thank you for all you do!” Susan

Unfortunately, email gives critical people instant access into your life. Many are cheap shots from critical-hearted people and not worthy of a response. It’s interesting to me that to the two positive tone emails made me want to respond by saying, “Thanks for your feedback…I appreciate you writing.” And, to the negative toned letters, I wanted to write and say, “You’re complaining about a free email devotional…really? You sound like a jerk!” Key words: “wanted to”.

As a leader, the tone in which you communication is so important. Be careful! It’s so easy to lose respect for people who write “corrective” emails without thinking them thru. In my years of working in the church, I’ve got many “axe to the forehead” emails that could have easily been written different.

Question: What are your email rules that you try to live by?