Today’s world of convenient, “I can type it and send it before I even think about it” messaging comes at a price: we lack the built-in delays that used to keep us from putting our feet in our mouths.

Back in the day, I remember thinking carefully about what I wrote or typed in a letter. Even in my most ungenerous moments, the threat of needing to rewrite or retype a stern diatribe was enough to make me consider what I was about to immortalize on paper. And if that bit of laziness wasn’t enough to keep me from doing irreparable harm to my reputation, then I had to find a stamp. Locate a mailbox. Get a snack or a cup of coffee on the way.

Now, however, I’m just as fallible as anyone. Recently, I was called “uninformed” by a non-business correspondent (and that was the nicest thing he had to say about me!) because I sent a message that was, at best, indelicate. (And let’s just agree that this really is the nicest thing that can be said about it!) Whether or not the points I raised in the message had any merit, or whether I said them with flair, was of no consequence.

This behavior isn’t news to anyone, I realize. I’m fairly certain that you, too, have clicked “Send” on an email or tapped “Post Comment” on a website — and then regretted that tiny finger twitch mere seconds after it happened.

And how about those horrible “So and so would like to recall the message…” emails we’ve all received? I cringe on behalf of the sender, every time I see one of these notes. It’s like speaking out of turn in a courtroom — the jury can’t unhear what you’ve just blurted out. Oops.

Since we can’t ask technology developers to create communication barriers for us (it’s sort of not what they do), let me humbly suggest we adopt a different technique: saying grace.

No, I’m not going to get into religion here. What I will point out, however, is that many, many philosophies and faith traditions include the practice of pausing to reflect before beginning a meal. Practitioners of saying grace (or of being mindful, or whatever you prefer to call it) take a moment before diving into the food to think about how fortunate we are to have something to eat at all. For just a few seconds, we consider how amazing it is to have nourishment. We take a short break in the rush, rush, rush, and think about the state of the world outside our own homes, offices, heads…

Whatever feelings or actions arise as a result of taking that moment, they are without doubt better than they otherwise might have been.

So, switching contexts: what should one think about before clicking “Send?” How about, “What will be the effect of this message on the reader, in terms of what I’m saying and how I’m saying it?” “Is there perhaps a better way I can make my point?” “Can I use this note to strengthen a relationship rather than weakening it?” “Will this message help push someone out of the way of a speeding bus?” If the answer to this last question is “No” — and it probably is — then perhaps we can tone things down just a notch.

(To be sure, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t sometimes make a point forcefully. If someone really is about to get hit by a bus, you’re probably not going to do much good by first clearing your throat and saying, “Pardon me…” But I honestly can’t remember the last time I needed to knock someone off his or her feet, particularly in a metaphorical or business context.)

So, in that same spirit, I am going to try to practice the art of saying grace before sending my next email. And the next. In fact, I’m even going re-read this blogpost before I hit “Publish.”

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