I think we all have at some stage written something we wished we didn't write, or worse - publish or send on to others. Have you ever sent an email and wished that you could pull it back? Have you ever got into difficulty or into an embarrassing situation as a result of something you have written? Have you ever had to apologise to anyone for something you wrote in an email? If your answer is "yes" to above (as my answers are), then Bruce Kasanoff has some excellent advice for us.
First - check out this graphic from Kasanoff:
|Image source: Kasanoff.com.|
Especially important above is the "Check for civility". Accuracy can be corrected in a later email, but it is more difficult to correct a lack of civility. If you are like me and often tone down the anger in an email by rewriting, then this is good practice - but do you (I) do it all the time?
One good tip, again from Kasanoff, is to Never Share Your First Draft (of Anything!). He tells us that "the right words have near-magical powers". He boils it down to two things:
- Patience: Can you wait a few more hours, days or even weeks to get your work just right?
- Pride: Is it worth extra time and effort to lift your work to a higher level of excellence?
So - we should take the time to go back over anything we have written - whether it is a short email, or an important report. The extra effort will be worth it and we will reduce the risk of offending anyone with rude or uncivil words, and reduce the risk of producing sloppy or bad reports. So if it takes a second, third, or several drafts to get it right - do it.
Kasanoff concludes with "The truth is, very few among us are geniuses. We can't do brilliant work in the blink of an eye. We have to work extremely hard to produce an outcome that makes us proud. So, if you are a genius, keep using your first draft. Otherwise, don't even think of using it".