The incoming email annoyed you to say the least. You have written your proposed response, controverted all of the points, dealt with all the inaccuracies, this email will really show them who is boss, press send and go home, what is more put your out of office on that you are not back now until tomorrow. Is that the right response? You may feel better but it is often not the right response. My preference would be that, having written it, save it to drafts and read the incoming email and your response again in the morning.

Why do I say that? Experience has taught me that things often look different the next day. Your anger may have abated. You may have unconsciously thought about it in your sleep. Your first draft came from the heart, the second may have more of your head or logic in it. What response will best suit your client’s needs, which are after all paramount. I have usually varied the response. Sometimes, if I felt a real divergence of opinion was arising, I would usually pick up the phone to the sender of the email and talk the issues through.

I am not saying do not write a response that day, the exercise will help you deal with the issues, factual and emmotional, but give yourself the luxury of looking at it again, if it does not need to go that day then send it the next day.

Perhaps the sender was having a bad day and now regrets sending the email in that form. I would always give them the opportunity to explain and perhaps recant or re-state. Either way I always felt my client’s interests were best served by talking any issues through. Sometimes people try and hide behind email and, I have found, adopt positions that melt away when talking. Either because they were invented in the first place or they were created by a lack of communication and understanding.

I grew up in a pre-internet, pre-email world. I am perhaps biased, but representing your client in that environment meant advancing your arguments usually in a meeting or on the telephone. Often, in a meeting the clients would be there are well. You had to understand where the other side were coming from. You had to LISTEN! See my other blogs but in particular the one entitled “Active Listening” of December 2, 2022

I am not saying that the same or better arguments cannot be made in writing through email but the challenge then is to be very careful about what you say and how you say it. That is why it cannot be rushed. That is why I say “sleep on it”.