Think about your e-communication like cholesterol, meaning that there are two kinds of conversational tones: positive and negative.
It is the ratio of positive to negative that is really important for our e-communication.
According to researchers, three types of engagement can be measured via your words: emotional engagement, social engagement, and task engagement.
Let’s face it: relationship building is more difficult over email than face-to-face. One key to building a relationship via e-communication is to be engaged.
As a second step in analyzing your own email communication, count all your pronouns—e.g., “I,” “me,” “you,” “us,” “our,” “we,” etc. Personal pronouns reflect attention to people rather than to objects or concepts.
The more personal pronouns are present, the more people are paying attention to people—themselves as well as others. First-person pronouns are interesting.
Using a lot of “I, me, mine” words can reflect a neurotic or ruminative self-focus, in natural conversation it often takes the form of hedging (e.g., “I think this might work”). But it also can reflect dominance.
According to researchers, the ideal rank order of personal-pronoun use in negotiation is first: “you,” second: “we,” third: “I,” and fourth: “they.” Your total number of pronouns is a reflection of your social engagement. Also, circle all the verbs (action words) in your email (“work,” “talk,” “meet,” “align,” etc.). These reflect task engagement.
Examine at least three exchanges between you and another person, using these three indexes. Are you engaged? Is the other person engaged? On what dimensions: emotional, social, task?
People behave differently when they are not face-to-face. They are more negative and, often, more presumptuous, conveying the impression that they are entitled and not easy to work with. This is a problem because excessive pride or hubris harms our ability to locate the sweet spot in any kind of negotiation. If we are unwittingly conveying negative impressions in non-face-to-face interactions, we need a wake-up call!
Excessive pride may blind us to finding sweet spots. People quickly develop impressions of our personalities on the basis of very limited information.
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