The Dilemma of Writing Emails That Sounds Genuine and Compassionate During a Pandemic

emails that sounds genuine and compassionate during a pandemic
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The world is battling a pandemic that does not seem in a hurry to go away and this is changing everything, including how people write emails. Individuals and businesses alike are wondering what kind of email they can send during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic without sounding callous or even creating panic, while still showing concern and delivering the intended message.

Today, closings that were once considered ideal such as ‘Regards’ or ‘Hope you are having a great time!’ are now seen as tone-deaf and detached. Writing email has become a highly delicate act unlike any other time in history. Almost anything you say in your communication is scrutinized and analyzed with the pandemic in mind.

If people feel like you do not care about the crisis, you come off as an insensitive person. On the other hand, if you go overboard with platitudes, and urge people to observe personal hygiene or stay safe, you are likely to be accused of causing panic.

So, how do we interact genuinely with friends, family, colleagues, and work contacts? How do we get our message across in a compassionate, sincere way without sounding patronizing or aloof?

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While striking that delicate balance in our emails is a tough job, it is not impossible. Ken Tann, a communications lecturer at the University of Queensland says that using certain phrases that show and remind people of humanity’s unity against the pandemic will go a long way.

According to Tan, we need to make changes in how we relate socially in order to strike the right chord. This can be demonstrated by how we start and sign off our emails. For example, you can start your email with “Hope you are well” or “Hope this email finds you well,” and end it with “Stay healthy, stay safe” or “See you (hopefully) soon.”

And since people are fatigued due to shelter in place rules, isolation, fear about their families, and the future, we must use words cautiously to avoid adding to their problems. Anyone not perceived as acknowledging the hard times the world is going through risks being seen as a callous businessperson who is only interested in bottom lines.

At such a delicate time as this, one of the communication techniques we need to master is tact. We must know how to get our messages across while considering other people’s feelings and responses. In addition, we need to learn how to throw in good old humor to lighten the mood. Signing off your email by wishing people ‘A great socially distant day’ or ‘Cautious cheers’ is not only likely to elicit smiles but it also sounds empathic.

Ultimately, while the pandemic has sort of thrown a spanner in our communication habits, we must acknowledge that we are living in uncommon times and try to do better. So, when you sit down to write your emails, just remember that we are all struggling to find the right words to say to each other.

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