The Sin of “SEND”. Are you a sinner?

If you have ever said or felt like saying “&*%$” after clicking on the the send button in your email then you are a sinner, a sinner who has committed the sin of “SEND”. One extreme “send sinner” in this video below cracks me up every time I see this video. (send sinner, I kind of like this term now) 

This whole email thing actually is a very old topic that has been beaten up quite a few times by quite a few folks. But, when I bumped in to this term, the “Sin of SEND” while reviewing one of Tom Peter’s management presentations, it got me thinking and the result is this post.

Although the above video is from a TV show (Newsroom) and is an extreme exaggerated situation, the trigger to the entire situation was the ability of that person to control her emotions.

In today’s business, we always talk about speed, pace, being swift, quick etc. as being one of the qualities of a high performing employee but Frank Partnoy in his book Wait: The art of science and delay challenges the entire speed & pace paradigm we have created in the corporate world. According to him, “The central element of good decision making is a person’s ability to manage delay.”

Now that’s a deep thought and actually, I completely agree with it. Though Frank’s reference in his statement refers to larger decision making in business, it makes a lot of sense to avoid non-sense email as well.

  • Do you have to send that email out right at this minute?
  • Are you going lose a customer deal if that email is not sent out in the next 1 minute?
  • Are you or someone going to lose their job if this email is not sent that very minute?

If the answer is no to the above then just RELAX, THINK, PROCESS & SEND.

I bet most of these “send sinners” are folks who sit in a meeting room, in the middle of a meeting, pretend to focus on the meeting and type away their emails.  These folks annoy me to the extreme. “Alright, I get it…you are a great multi-tasker, Clap-clap-clap. Now can you shut that laptop down and focus on this meeting. It’s better for both of us that way, in fact more for you than me”

I am not talking about email etiquette here (that’s a totally different topic) , my point is more about email emotional intelligence and enabling the space and time to tap in to that intelligence. Email emotional intelligence is the ability and the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions in email, and to handle interpersonal relationships empathetically while still communicating your thoughts/stand on a specific topic over email.

What has worked well for me is to dedicate pockets of time throughout the day as your “email time”, where you have total attention to your email, typically once in the morning, sometime after lunch and once before you leave the office. This gives you the flexibility to spend time with the team members, pay attention to the conversations/meetings and above all gives your email response the focus and attention it deserves to avoid “send sinning”. Oh, are you thinking what if it is an urgent situation that needs a response in a matter of minutes??, If it is that urgent, your colleagues will/should know how to get a hold of you. If they don’t, thats a separate problem for you to solve for.

Above all, the ultimate email emotional intelligence is to decide when to move away from email and get in to a phone call, video conference or an in-person conversation to get a situation resolved.

Let me leave you with one of my favorite fun ’email fail’ video or should I say my favorite “send sinner” fun video?

About the Author: For more information, contact Balakarthik Venkataramanan at LinkedIn Profile:

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