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Chapter 22. Extinguishing Flames > Controlling the Urge to Flame

Controlling the Urge to Flame

Keep your emotions in check. Walk away from the flame, returning to the screen when you feel less heated.

Write your response thoughtfully and proofread carefully before sending it. Never use obscene or abusive language in e-mail messages. The more distance you can put between a flame and your response, the less likely you will flame back.

Avoid flaming in public forums. If you want to respond to a message, do so directly. Do not risk drawing others into a flame war.

Real-Life E-Disaster: The CEO’s Devastating E-Mail

When the CEO of Cerner Corporation opted to use e-mail to express his displeasure about employee performance, he hoped to motivate his 400 managers to act. They acted all right, posting the CEO’s angry message on Yahoo!®, where it was read by a hidden audience of 3,100 Cerner employees and also financial analysts, investors, and Yahoo subscribers. The result: Cerner’s stock valuation, which was $1.5 billion the day the CEO’s e-mail was sent, plummeted 22%, from $44 to $34 per share in three days.[27]


[27] Wong, “A Stinging Office Memo Boomerangs.”


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