Think Twice Before Sending That Angry Email

Chris Andersen
Published Jun 13, 2024

Think Twice Before Sending That Angry Email

Anger can get the best of us, especially in work settings where emotions can run high. Got a problem with a coworker or an unreasonable request from your boss? Before you let your emotions take control and hit "send" on a fiery email, pause for a moment. 

Here are a few practical steps recommended by management coach Mads Singers and office etiquette expert Alison Green, to ensure you communicate effectively without burning bridges.

1. Clarify Your Objective

Start by asking yourself what resolution you're seeking. Is it a corrected document, an acknowledgment of a missed deadline, or a request for a discussion? 

Being clear about your goals can guide your email in a constructive direction.

2. Give it Time

Emotions can cloud our judgment, leading to impulsive actions we might regret. Psychologists suggest waiting at least 24 hours to cool off. 

This way, your response will be more clear-headed and strategic.

3. Focus on the Issue, Not Yourself

Resist the urge to center your emotions ("I feel..."). Instead, address the problem directly. A straightforward approach is both professional and effective.

4. Proofread Multiple Times

Errors can sneak in when we're upset. Take a break and review your email later to catch any typos or grammar mistakes that could distract from your message.

5. Consider a Real Conversation

Sometimes, the best way to handle a difficult situation is to have a direct conversation. Talking through the issue in person or over the phone can be much more productive and clear up misunderstandings quickly.

Bonus Tips from Alison Green:

  • Cool Off: Avoid sending heated emails, particularly to superiors. They're prone to misinterpretation and escalated conflicts.
  • Talk It Out: For sensitive matters, in-person discussions usually work best.
  • Admit Mistakes: If you've erred, apologize sincerely, and share how you'll prevent repeat issues.
  • Grow Professionally: Use past experiences to enhance your communication and judgment.

In summary, an angry email rarely solves problems and might just create new ones. By taking a step back, you can approach the situation more rationally. With clear thinking and professional communication, you can turn a negative scenario into an opportunity for better understanding and stronger workplace relationships.

Overall, these tips help maintain harmonious professional connections and advance your career successfully. Keep them in mind, and you'll likely find your work life smoother and more rewarding.


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