Hello gentle reader,
You might think that, because I write about etiquette and manners, I am above making mistakes that might revolve around those two subjects.
Not so much.
Part of manners is recognizing tone. Tone can change the whole meaning of a message.
My example. I have a podcast I listen to religiously. It has a current events/sports bend, and last week the host told a story about being hung up on by his local gas company. As it happens, I used to work in a call center when I was a starving student, and have some funny stories from the “other side” as it were.
So I sent an email, my first ever, to this podcast, brief and witty, sharing my experiences. And joy of joys, it got read “on air”–super thrilling!!!
But in reality, it was MORTIFYING! The funny anecdotes about my call center days came off, in someone else’s voice, as shockingly vindictive. Ack!!! I went back and listened again. Am I being sensitive? Am I imagining things? No, my tone, instead of being inclusive “I’ve been there with you from the other side” came off as something completely, negatively, different.
I listened a third time, this time with an ear of what I should have written. Then went back to the email in my Send folder. Literally, three different words, in three different sentences, would have changed the tone of my communication to what I truly meant.
A live and learn moment. And a lesson that manners is not just in the actions, but sometimes in the minutia.