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Is It Okay to Yell At People In An Email Message?

on April 6, 2011
Recently, I received an email message from someone reminding me of a conference call that would take place later that evening. Honestly, every word in the email looked exactly like that. The font was Arial, 16 and purple.

Now I ask you, how do you feel when you receive an email like this, whether professionally or personally?  I can tell you that, both professionally and personally, I find it disturbing and unnecessary. IT HAS THE SAME EFFECT AS USING ALL CAPS, ALL BOLD LETTERS OR EXCESSIVE PUNCTUATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT CAN BE ANNOYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unless you know the person you are sending the email to is visually impaired, there is no need for email font to be this large. Even if a visual problem were the case, there is assistive technology that is available to help people who are visually impaired read what is being communicated on their computer screens.

For those of you who may have fallen into the habit of yelling at your readers, here are a few reasons why it is not appropriate:

1. Think of it this way, just as it is not a good idea to verbally yell at your colleagues when you are in the office, it not a good idea to yell at them in email correspondence.

2. Just as you do not yell when communicating over the telephone, for the same reasons, it is not appropriate to do it in an email.

3. When writing someone a letter on paper, do you use really big letters? Then don’t do it in your email. Both are forms of correspondence, so follow the same rules.  (I know some have probably answered yes to this question, so to them I would like to say just as it is not appropriate to yell in online communications, it is not appropriate to yell in off-line communications.) 

To sum it up.  Please, treat email the same way you treat all other forms of communication.

Email Etiquette: How to Quickly & Easily Write Business Email that Communicates and Gets a Response
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2 responses to “Is It Okay to Yell At People In An Email Message?

  1. Tanya says:

    Thanks for posting this! I think a lot of people get brave in emails and say inappropriate things.. my motto is if you wouldn't say it to their face, dont say it in an email. If I feel the need to "yell" at someone via email, I will wait a few hours before responding. By then I have usually calmed down and it keeps me from writing something I may regret. I know it can be hard to learn how to communicate effectively with co-workers, especially if you are in a manager position. If anyone is having issues with this I would suggest looking into these supervisor training courses… they really helped me in my business.

  2. Hey Tanya! Waiting until you calm down is the best thing to do. Thanks for your comment and the link to Terri's site. I will definitely take a look at her course offerings.

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