According to the Rand Corporation, a non-profit institution that helps improve
policy and decision making, one attribute of email that most distinguishes it
from other forms of communication is its ability to evoke emotion in the recipient
(Anderson and Shapiro, 1985).
of the content or form of the email message plus the likelihood that the
recipient will then fire off a hasty response often exacerbates the situation.
This expression of extreme emotion or opinion in an email message is referred
to as flaming.
Unlike telephone and personal conversations that fade
with time, impulsive email responses can sit around in mailboxes, be printed out,
circulated and acquire a level of importance that was never intended.
is a real barrier to effective and 2-way communication and can have a negative
impact on work relationships and work productivity. Keep the following in mind
to avoid creating flaming email:
It is frighteningly easy to create an immediate and not necessarily thoughtful
response to an email message.
Interpersonal cues that aid the face-to-face communication process, such as
immediate feedback and the ability to judge body language are completely absent
from this communication medium.
Without face-to-face communication, attempts at humor, irony, sarcasm, and
wit are often misinterpreted. Some may view your joke as criticism.
See Reduce Flaming.
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