Cyber attack.The definition of a flaming email is a hostile and insulting interaction between email users, often involving the use of profanity. If you’re guilty of sending “flame mail”, you’re not alone. Microsoft Founder, Bill Gates, was one of the first people accused of sending an insulting email long before many of us even used email, and said email is still alive and happy on the Internet today.

The anatomy of a flaming email can be made up of any (or all) of the following:

  • Words comprised of all uppercase letters
  • Excess use of exclamation marks
  • Profanity and complete disrespect

Here are some important tips on how to avoid hitting the send button on that flaming email:

1. If you feel the urge to send a flaming email, draft it in a Word document and save it. Wait at least 24 hours before sending anything. Run the email by a trusted friend if possible. Chances are you’ll feel much nicer after time has passed.

2. If you’re the victim of a flaming email, the same rule applies. Don’t reply to the email and walk away from the computer for at least 24 hours. Do some sort of activity that clears your mind or talk to a friend.

3. Remember, tone does not translate well via email or text message. You know how it feels to get the one letter text message “K”? Remember this analogy when you feel like hitting the send button.

4. Never write words in all capital letters in your email correspondence. It is unprofessional and abrasive.

5. If you feel the need to send a flaming email, perhaps it’s time to talk to a trusted friend and/or colleague. Explain the situation to them and talk about the email you are thinking of sending. Do they think it’s a good idea? They might be able to talk you out of it or offer an alternative strategy.

Overall, it’s never a good idea to send a flaming email (or text for that matter). Take it from me, although it might be tough to resist the urge, keep your personal and business reputation in mind. Give yourself a break, step away from the computer and give yourself at least 24 hours to cool off. Good luck!