We’ve all been victim of a nasty-gram at some point in time – whether it’s from an unhappy client, our supervisor, colleague or neighbor. Why are emails a preferred method for someone to tell you about their dissatisfaction with you or a situation that involves you? Computers embolden people – they allow them to hide behind a computer without having to look a real human in the face. It’s far less scary to angrily type your venomous words into a screen than to scream them into someone’s face. There’s zero chance the computer is going to argue back, and there’s zero chance you’re going to be arrested. Better yet, nobody but the recipient will know about your little outburst…right? Well, maybe…unless the receiver is a regular of Reddit. Then, the email may be viewed millions of times. Regardless, it’s common sense to not send an angry email. What do you do, however, if you receive one?

How To Respond To A Nasty-gram

  • Don’t respond at all for 24 hours in any way.
  • Don’t Respond back with a defense of any kind.
  • Respond back in a way that politely invites the person to call you or meet with you face to face.

When you receive a nasty attack via email, your first impulse is to get very angry in return. That’s human nature. However, the best way to diffuse the situation, and possibly salvage your day or weekend, is to do absolutely nothing. Don’t read it again and again, share with others, and definitely don’t respond. Close the email and do something else – go for a walk, work on a project, read a book, but don’t dare look at that email again. Give your body and mind a chance to recover from the attack.
Twenty four hours later, open the email again, not necessarily to read it, and definitely not to counter any points made or to defend yourself. Your goal here is to professionally acknowledge receipt. That means you cannot tell the sender that they were wrong, they hurt your feelings, all the reasons why they are actually the awful person, nothing. Professionals do not counter, defend or win wars over email. Why? Words are easily misconstrued when there’s no face, voice or body language to back them up. Also – it’s very easy for someone to forward your reply to many people. You don’t want to give anyone that opportunity to harm your business or your reputation as an individual.
It is now time to reply. Your reply should look very much like this, unless the email threatened you bodily harm (in which place, it may be have been best to call the police when you received it). If it was angry words debasing your character/company, however, write this: “Dear Mrs. Jones, I am sorry that you are unhappy with XYZ services. My goal is for our customers to be happy and satisfied with the services we provide, and I’d love to talk to you about what you have experienced and let you share your thoughts when I can respond in a timely manner. Please call me at 123-4567 or feel free to stop by my office where we can chat.  I thank you for your time and for reaching out to me. Respectfully, Joe Business Owner.”
There. Doesn’t the high road have a much better view?

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