Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 8:22 am | Fair with Haze 58º


Paul Burri: There’s Rarely a Winner in Email War

Some things are better hashed out face to face

I recently became involved in an email war. That’s the same as a memo war, and it happens when you send someone a complaining email and then he (or she) responds with one that is slightly more hostile and then you send one back, and then he sends you his response — and before you know it, you’re in an email war.

So there we were, sending nasty emails back and forth and not really getting anywhere except that our tempers were rising and our positions were hardening. We were getting further and further away from reaching any sort of solution — much less a compromise.

Interestingly, there was a third individual who had been copied on all of the emails back and forth and was thoroughly familiar with the situation.

He was a person from whom one could reasonably expect to hear some more reasoned, more “spiritual” advice. He was also the third party involved in the situation and he could have fixed the whole thing by intervening, admitting his own involvement (and culpability) in the situation and offering to help resolve the whole thing. If only he had chosen to do so. Instead, he offered some unsolicited advice.

He advised, “It is time to end this email war. You will not get this situation resolved if you continue firing emails back and forth. You need to resolve this by either calling one another or by sitting down face-to-face and talking to each other.”

I had to admit that it was good advice.

He sent it to me in an email.

— Paul Burri is an entrepreneur, inventor, columnist, engineer and iconoclast. He is not in the advertising business, but he is a small-business counselor with the Santa Barbara chapter of Counselors to America’s Small Business-SCORE. The opinions and comments in this column are his alone and do not represent the opinions or policies of any outside organization. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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