Watch it…. That tone is rude

Dear 3040 and Beyond:

I’m a new grad at a big firm and I think I’ve messed things up with my co-workers. They’ve been acting weird around me and my only office friend says I’ve been offending people in my emails. From my boss to my peers, it looks like I’ve made everyone mad. The thing is, I have no idea what kinds of stuff I could say in email that would piss people off! I’m a nice person and I haven’t had many problems like this before. Can you help?


In Hot Water

Dear Hot water.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 10.11.06 PM

You have come to the right place to deal with your issue. I for one am constantly emailing for my internship and I have definitely re read a few of them when it comes the end of the day when I am a little more tired and they come off with different meanings than what I would have initially intended. Just remember this isn’t the end of the world and is a great way to learn from your mistake. One of the most common problems with writing emails is making sure you are using the correct and appropriate tone of voice. Tone in writing is critical in every aspect but very important when writing emails, it can be so easy to just send it off without reading it completely through. As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs it is so important to re read and adjust anything that may potentially come off in the wrong manner. I know it is hard especially when these emails are just going to people you know well but the more you do it the more the process will get imprinted in your brain not to just send it straight away. I’m going to help you out and I am hoping you will take these tips to heart.

Tip #1:

Write what you have on your mind and make sure that the point you are trying to portray is being portrayed in its entirety. Again in another blog I have posted it gets easy to just write and get distracted so my first tip is to make a list before you start writing your email of the exact points you are trying to make. At this stage in the process it is okay for it to be a little messy and the tone not be perfect as long as you promise to re read and alter to the audience it is being sent. I think a good rule of thumb is to always act as if the email is being sent to your dean. You know who it is for the most part but yet you are still formal so if it ever gets forwarded anywhere it keeps your professional tone.

Tip #2

RE READ RE READ RE READ… This is going to be mentioned a million and one times in this blog till it is embedded in your brain. This is so critical especially when you don’t write it in the most perfect of manners the first time around. There have been so many instances in emails where I just loose track of what I am trying to say and I wouldn’t have ever caught it if I hadn’t had re read my work. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I COULD EVER ADVISE YOU ON!

Tip 3:

Check the tone. Your tone as a writer can be so misinterpreted so it is so important to go through a different way than the re reading tip I gave earlier and make sure it is consistent and if anything ever sounds a little funky I would change it because if you the writer thinks that then someone else definitely thinks that. Ton can change something like break a leak like good luck to I hope you break your leg. It is so important that you watch for how things are hearing. There are so many technological advances in our days to get your text dictated back to you from your computer. If the email you are writing is make it or break it don’t just send the first draft do everything to make it perfect.

Tip 4:

DO NOT SEND RIGHT AFTER TYPING. You haven’t given your brain enough time to hear through what you have written. This goes back to all the prior tips I gave but It truly is so important.

I hope these tips will help you break the ice with your work friends.


Sarah Wheeler


10 thoughts on “Watch it…. That tone is rude

  1. I like how you included the meme in your blog! One of the main points of the assignment (at least, I believe it was) was to connect with your millennial audience. Including a meme was a great way of doing that as most of us readers are aware of that particular meme and also spend a great deal of time online. I thought it was also pretty funny, and created a light-hearted tone to your blog. Your tips were informative but I really think you nailed the voice in this post. It was very enjoyable to read! Very nicely done.

  2. Hi Sarah,
    I thought that your advice to In Hot Water was great! Good job on your post. You had a very relatable tone right from the beginning of your introduction. Your example of emailing for you internship was a good way to connect with a large audience. I really enjoyed reading your blog and thought that your tips were very helpful and will help In Hot Water improve their business writing.

  3. Hey Sarah, I thought the title of your post really set up the tone for the entire blog post! Great job on taking your own advice. I loved your first tip for writing. Personally, I have a hard time starting to write because I have no idea where I should start. What do I really want to say, and how do I want the recipient to interpret it? In these scenarios, I find it best to plan out the basics before hand, and then move on to the specifics later. Re-reading is incredibly important as well. Trying to read your own email from the perspective of the recipient, and considering how they may interpret it can catch possible problematic statements from the beginning. Great job!

  4. Hi Sarah! One think that I really enjoyed about your blog post this week was how you really tried to appeal to your millenial audience with both the structure of post and the funny meme. The reason why I thought the structure was spot on was because it clearly laid out your distinct points and made it easy to read through and utilized the perfect amount of whitespace. My only suggestion is that in the paragraph under Tip #2, I would advise maybe not using all caps in that last sentence. Even though it is an important point, you could stress it with simply an exclamation point at the end. This was just my opinion and overall thought you drive how your point exceptionally well. Nice job.

  5. Hey gal!

    Great post! I really loved the way you formatted your piece, it made it super easy to follow! I also loved how you began with a personal story about how you have made a similar mistake in the tone of an email. I myself have had a similar experience and I wish I would’ve taken the time to just proof read a little more so that I didn’t come off the wrong way. In tip #1 I loved how you mentioned to just write exactly what is on your mind, no need to worry about sending yet because there is plenty of time to proof read.

    Great job Wheeler!

  6. Hi Sara! Great post. I really think you make some excellent points about tone. I particularly thought your “tips” were really fantastic. I also enjoyed your article about tone I think the tone an author takes is extremely important. Some people are understanding of tone deaf emails while others are quickly offended. Keeping this in mind is key to staying out of trouble as work. I also found your paragraph titled “Tip #2” very interesting, I think it’s important to re read but maybe not to the extent you are describing. I think once or twice is enough, but is it really realistic to do it more often than that? Just a thought. However, I totally agree that proofreading is important! I think this topic is crucial in an age where the majority of us (this class especially) communicate via technology. All in all, awesome post, good job!

  7. Hi Sarah,

    First off, I really like how you opened your post and the accompanying meme. This showed that you can relate to “In Hot Water” and lightened the mood immediately through humor. It also showed that you were practicing the advice you were preaching throughout your post. I also really like how you broke up your post. The headers separating the tips clearly outlined where the meat of your post was and prevented your post from feeling stuffy. Finally, I thought you gave some really good advice in this post. I definitely plan on using these tips as I apply to internships and begin to enter the work force. Keep up the good work!

    Nate Roadman

  8. This was a very informative post! The way you start with a relatable story about your own experience with tone is a solid start to building your credibility. The tone that you use while discussing tone is very friendly yet professional, which makes your post out to be an easy read. I also liked how you stressed the importance of re-reading the emails you write before you send them off. This is a very essential solution to business writing because the wrong thing can be said or inferred, and this just creates a mess. Reviewing the material that is going to be sent out is crucial to affirming the right tone in any email.

  9. Sarah!!! What a great post! The picture you have at the beginning of your post gave me a little laugh and the title did as well. I have read many of these posts but you seemed to capture my attention throughout the entire post. I have yet to see the “Tips” approach and it was nice to see a change. The tips were also very helpful while trying to fix this problem virtually everyone has when addressing tone. Tip #4 was something I had never really thought about but would be very helpful. Everything sounds good when you first type it but sitting on it and reading it again later would make people realize small mistakes. Overall great work.

  10. Great post Sarah, I love the organization of your whole post and your tips. You meme was hilarious and helped the reader enjoy the piece more. To add to tip number one, I think it’s important for us to be super to the point and keep it short and simple. I do think that rereading things over and over helps with the tone issue. You can reread each line and thing, “is there any other way somebody could interpret this?” Additionally, for you last tip, I completely agree to not send things immediately after you are done. I think we’re used to it because as millennials we text things right away.

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