I realize that sometimes it’s a really hard thing to do. Out of all the lessons I’ve learned over the course of my career, this is one of the toughest ones for me to follow. Here’s what I’m talking about:
You’re at your computer and discover that you’ve just been blasted by someone in a comment, post or email. It doesn’t matter if it was in a public forum or privately, you are upset and your initial reaction is to fire back. The problem with this is that your response is often based on anger rather than logic.
When I’m in the heat of battle over an issue with anybody about anything, passion takes over. I get caught making statements that are emotional and not so relevant to what the real issue is. When this happens I read what I’ve written out loud and if my wife’s home, I’ll take it to her. Her comment is always the same, “Don’t bomb!”
That comment always sends me back to the drawing board to rewrite my response, be more specific, stick with the topic, use facts and leave the emotion out. Usually, just writing the initial response is enough therapy to walk away and not even bother to respond. I’ve also found that if this happens on a public forum, friends will step in and do a better job responding than I ever could.
Here are some points to think about the next time you’re in the middle of a battle:
- Whatever you’re writing, don’t send it until you’ve slept on it!
- Don’t use boldface or caps to make a point and definitely leave out multiple exclamation points. Writing a sentence and ending it with a string of exclamation points is the same as flipping somebody the bird!!!!! See what I mean?
- Could you get your point across better with a phone call or in person? Email is a horrible way to communicate over a hot issue and I’ve learned that the hard way.
- Share your thoughts with another family member or friend who’s not involved in the skirmish. They can be objective when you’re not.
- Stay away from battles in public forums. You can’t take it back when you’ve already posted it to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. I like to use this quote: “There are no erasers on the Internet!”
Last but not least – don’t sweat the small stuff, because most of the time it’s ALL small stuff.