“Because e-mail communicators “hear” a statement differently depending on whether they intend to be, say, sarcastic or funny, it can be difficult to appreciate that their electronic audience may not.”Senders generally overestimated how accurately the recipients would understand whether the message was serious, sarcastic, etc. without the cues provided by tone, context, inflexion, facial expression etc. This overestimation occurred regardless of how well the sender and recipient knew each other. As a result, email often increases the potential for miscommunication leading to more conflict in the first place and more difficulty in negotiating a resolution when conflict arises. The research suggests that not only is an e-mail more likely to be misunderstood but that both parties are likely to find it difficult to understand where the communication went awry. As the title of the article suggests, this is born from ego-centrism. That is the message sender knows exactly what they are trying to convey and struggles to see any ambiguity. Of course, it is nearly impossible to avoid all e-mail negotiations but understanding the different ways meaning is communicated in person or by phone that are lost in e-mails may prevent significant misunderstandings.
Although negotiators must display confidence — real or feigned — arrogance is counterproductive. Learn why in this article.