Emails get misinterpreted on a daily basis.  We’ve all been there.

It’s been a long day.  You’ve procrastinated finishing up that report that’s due the next morning.  You realize you can’t delay any longer, so you go into crunch mode and start writing those emails you’ve been sitting on all day.

You quickly type your note and click send. Off it goes to Kathy in Sales, Steve in IT, and the new guy in accounting, is it John or Jake…you can’t remember.

So, you log off the computer and go home.

The next morning you step into your meeting and follow up on the email you sent out the day before.

Kathy tells you she didn’t follow through because the email was too vague.

Steve said it was too long…didn’t read.

And John, turns out to be named Jake.  Whoops.

You leave feeling frustrated.  How are you supposed to get your point across when everyone is so different?  Heck, that Zack kid won’t even respond to emails unless you text him about it.

Sometimes we all just prefer good old fashioned face to face communication to avoid all this misinterpretation…and even that fails us from time to time.

So how do emails get misinterpreted and how do you fix it?

The answer lies in tweaking to others’ personalities according to today’s infographic “How’s Your Email Working For You?

Don't Take it Personally. How Emails Get Misinterpreted in the Workplace [Infographic]

How Emails Get Misinterpreted Nuts and Bolts

What is the main cause of confusion or resentment in the workplace?

  • 43% blame email
  • 32% blame text messaging
  • 9% blame social networking
  • 9% blame the phone
  • 7% blame instant messaging
Biggest Pet Peeves

Biggest pet peeves for email senders.

  • 51% No reply from recipients
  • 14% Misinterpreted messages
  • 13% Slow responses
  • 11% Brusque or careless replies
  • 4% Pushback or requests for more detial
  • 3% Grammar police

Biggest pet peeves for email recipients.

  • 25% Too many reply alls
  • 19% Emails that are too confusing or vague
  • 18% Too much email in general
  • 12% Emails that are too long
  • 11% Chitchat not related to work
  • 8% Bad grammar
  • 7% Emails that come off as brusque or rude
  • 2% Emails that have zero personality
Millennial Email Mindsets
  • 13% less likely than 30-44 year olds to be angered by email
  • Point to texting – not email – as the biggest pain (45%)
  • 7% more annoyed by bad grammar than other age groups
  • Value faster replies 12% more than other age groups
Adapting Email to Their Personalities

Extraversion: The natural focus of Extraversion is the external world

  • Tend to: Write long, conversational messages and send lots of emails
  • Potential Result: Recipients may delete emails before reading them
  • Tip: As sender, review emails to ensure that all the wording is necessary

Introversion: The natural focus of Introversion is the internal world

  • Tend to: Write brief messages unless it is a matter of great imporance
  • Potential Result: Recipients may misinterpret brevity as inadequate responsiveness
  • Tip: As sender, include all major details

Thinking: Making decisions by stepping back from the situation, taking an objective view

  • Tend to: Emphasize facts and logic over personal connections
  • Potential Result: Recipients may feel bored and disconnected
  • Tip: As sender, include personal touches

Feeling: Making decisions by stepping into the situation, taking an empathetic view

  • Tend to: Focus on what’s valued by the recipient
  • Potential Result: Recipients may not see the point quickly enough
  • Tip: As sender, put facts and logic first; use bullets
Proper Email Etiquette
  • Consider sender and receiver personality preferences
  • Acknowledge all emails you receive with a reply
  • Read emails carefully; try not to misinterpret tone
  • Respond in a timely manner
  • Remove contacts from side conversations to avoid annoying Reply Alls
  • Be clear and concise
  • Consider phone or IM for sensitive topics
Your Turn

What frustrates you in emails?  Share in the comments below.