I recognize that sometimes it's simply tough to do. Of all the lessons I’ve learned in my career, this is one of the toughest one to stay on course. Here's the scenario:
You've just been shot at in a comment, a post or an email. Whether it was in a public forum or private, makes no difference. You're upset and the initial reaction we all have is to react and fire back. The problem is, our response is too often based on anger rather than logic.
When I’m in the heat of battle over an issue with anybody over anything, passion takes over. I get caught making statements that are emotional and less than relevant to whatever the issue is. I’ll read whatever it is I’ve written out loud, then if she’s home, I’ll read it back to my wife. Her comment is always the same, “Don’t bomb!”
That always sends me back to the drawing board to rewrite it, be more specific and stick with the topic, the issues on a factual basis and leave the emotion out. Often, just writing the initial response is enough therapy to just walk away and not bother to even respond. I've also found, when the battle is in a public forum, friends often step in and do a better job in responding than I could ever do.
Here are some points to think about the next time you’re in the heat of battle:
- Whatever you’re writing don’t send it until you’ve slept on it for a night!
- 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 published it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. I used this quote last week, "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.
Wishing everybody a wonderful weekend. As always, take the time to hug somebody special in your life.