We were recently asked to give feedback on an email that had been drafted, before being sent.

The opening paragraph was confrontational and accusatory, while the remaining paragraphs contained information supporting the sender’s position.

This is a good example of what we call “the impact of the opening shot”. From the receiver’s point of view, the opening lines may have caused them to have a strong emotional response such as anger, insult or defensiveness.

Whatever their reaction, they may not have digested the rest of the email. They may not have even read the body of the email before hitting delete.

This would then be a communication fail. Communication is only successful when understanding is mutually achieved between the sender and the receiver.

So points to consider: the purpose of your communication and how it will be received and understood, tone and emotion not just words and the “impact of the opening shot” to set a platform for a successful exchange.

It can be prudent to take a deep breath before hitting “Send” as once sent, it is out there forever.