Have you ever write a long email, only to delete it before sending it away? Well, if you did, you are not alone.
A middle age academician with a PhD qualification went on in cycle – writing, deleting and rewriting his email, but short of sending. He was supposed to reply to some questions posed by a group of students.
Last weekend I was told a story where a young executive was about to voice out his opinion on issues debated by senior activists in a social & welfare based organisation. After writing his email, he decided to delete it.
A leader of an NGO once told me that he had wanted to write about certain issues to be circulated to his fellow members, but he kept on editing his email until the issue became almost irrelevant. He finally decided to delete it.
Why is this happening? To the senior academic, he was worried that his writing might be wrongly interpreted by the students, which may create other follow up issues. To the young executive, he was concerned that the tone of his email might be taken as insulting. To the leader on an NGO, he wanted to be sure that his email is well-understood.
Why is this happening?
This is a cultural issue. We grew up in a society where the young should listen to the elders. We have been taught “terlajak perahu boleh diundur, terlajak kata buruk padahnya” which means that if a boat overshoot, it can be reversed, but if words were accidently spoken. The effect can be devastated. So, we tend to be careful. And it is good thing to do because an email is even more dangerous because it can even be misinterpreted and you have no way of correcting it if it is not replied.
Looking from another perspective, it is agreeable that today, email has become almost a necessity. It is supposed to facilitate communications. Blackberry phone (haha I don’t have one) was developed by the University of Waterloo so that people can communicate wherever they are using email. Why? Because we need a quick and cheap means of communication. In this modern world, it is almost a necessity.
What’s needed is simply sincerity and openness. If we can discuss issues with open hearts, why should we be worried about giving opinion? For me, I prefer to be transparent because it is the easiest thing to do. You don’t have to pretend or to make so many adjustments. Just be yourself, but of course, while observing some ethics.
Giving opinion is part of syura (consultation). It can also serve as a nasiha (advice). Young or old, junior or senior – all should participate well in discussion for an organisation to move forward. So, my dear friends, the next time you have something important to say, email it away.