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  • Writer's pictureJoe

Categorising emailers

There are three kinds of emailers: relaxed, driven, and stressed. Relaxed emailers get to reading and writing email whenever they can. They don't stress about how many email correspondences accumulate in their inbox, and they don't stress about the emails that they owe to others. There are advantages and disadvantages of being a relaxed emailer. As far as advantages go, they carry less stress than someone who is constantly concerned with getting to the latest email that has hit their inbox. They are capable of overcoming that negative concerned feeling one gets when there are lines upon lines of incoming email stacked up. A disadvantage of relaxed emailers is the impression it leaves upon the recipients or senders of the emails. Just as showing up late to an appointment or party suggests that your own time is more important than that of the inviter, not getting around to email right away suggests to the correspondent that they're not important. That's very disrespectful and a sign of arrogance.

Driven emailers are highly motivated to reply immediately to incoming email. Unlike with the relaxed emailer, the correspondent would not think that the receiver is being disrespectful because they get right onto responding to the email. However, one might be in a good position to argue that the driven emailer who responds quickly to incoming email hasn't given one's correspondence serious, or any, consideration. Let's face it. Some email writers are very good at writing clear, coherent, and comprehensive emails. Others, i.e. most of us!, are not good email writers, leaving many things too ambiguous or too vague for recipients to be able to properly decipher. When this is the case, the recipient should take more time to read through the email multiple times before writing up a response. This is especially true of email correspondence that strike an emotional chord with the recipient.

Here's good practice for the driven emailer who's received an emotionally charged email. Write up a response immediately as you would with any email; however, don't hit the send button! Don't do it! Instead, write the response in a word processing document, like MS Word, or write the response and set it aside. But do not under any circumstances hit the send button. For emotionally valenced emails or highly charged correspondence, let the email sit overnight in one's inbox. Call this the 24-hour rule. Leaving 24 hours between receiving the email and sending off the response allows for you to get some perspective on the email. You may even find that your initial reaction was the wrong reaction.

Finally, there's the stressed emailer. The stressed emailer tend to be frustrated by or stressed out by the email that they receive. Whenever these emailers open their inbox, their blood pressure rises and their hands get sweaty. There are relatively few advantages of being this kind of emailer unless you're a masochist. The stress induced by email correspondence is harmful. This implies, of course, that there are many, many disadvantages of being a stressed emailer. So, if one finds themselves in this category of emailer, then take the time to check your email but realise that not all of it is bad.

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