Discard assumptions and absolutes in favor of more gracious ways of getting your point across
Communication is the conveyance of ideas or information, feelings or opinions. It seems, though, that we’ve lost our graciousness about the process.
Imagine communication as food—proper presentation makes it all the more palatable.
“You never e-mailed me that contact information for the publisher, Mortimer,” someone might say. Gee, that’s abrasive; it’s also probably inaccurate.
There are a couple of problems here. Using an absolute, such as “never,” is generally a bad idea. It’s frequently not the case, and it always—um, often—raises hackles. Best, worst, never, always, invariably, only, without a doubt, and so on can be off-putting.
Another flaw in “You never e-mailed me…” is that the intended recipient has no idea whether the sender created, wrote up and hit send on the e-mail in question. It may simply have gone into the Internet ether, or into a junk folder. It might have gotten lost in an avalanche of other e-mails; possibly the intended recipient deleted it inadvertently.