Here’s the scenario: You need to write a tricky email, and fast. But you’re afraid to hit send—something feels off. You’re worried about the repercussions if you don’t get it just right. Or maybe you’re not sure you’re being as clear as you can.
Clear communication can be challenging!
My major in college was Fine arts, with an emphasis in Graphic Communications. Communication is a big component of all the work I do, whether I’m communicating from a visual place or a content place. So, it’s not surprising that I am always thinking about how to improve the communication process.
There’s nothing like clear communication to keep things running smoothly, to move toward our goals, and to make sure our relationships are well nurtured and maintained.
Sometimes, when writing an email, communication just flows. There’s really nothing complicated to express.
Then there are those days when communication is tricky.
If today is that day for you, then I’ve got some great ideas for how to improve your email communication, and how Tarot can help you get it just right.
The Many Ways an Email Can Go Wrong…
Let’s face it: the content of every e-mail we write is susceptible to the state of our moods, the clarity of our mind on the day, how attentive we are feeling, and assumptions about the signals that we think other people are sending us.
Some days, an email can feel like a minefield. Or can turn into one, if we aren’t careful.
You know how it is when a communication goes awry. There’s usually some kind of collateral damage to clean up: a misunderstanding, a dropped ball, hurt feelings, a broken relationship. Or you just simply don’t get your desired results: your invitation or request didn’t grab your intended audience enough to get the response you were hoping for.
But, if we write consistently good, useful, clearly-communicating correspondences, we will hopefully be blessed enough to never know what difficulty we avoided by taking the time to be careful in our expression.
Tricky Email Messages that Need Extra Care
I have to write all kinds of emails in my day-to-day. Here are the ones that often end up being the sticky wickets:
- Communicating with people to organize gatherings
- Discussing boundary setting around an issue or situation
- Messages related to developing new business
- Correspondences around clearing up hurt feelings or misunderstandings
- Setting expectations with others, in work or personal matters
When You Might Send an Email
over Making a Phone Call
I’ve learned that when you can talk directly with the person—whether on the phone, on Skype, or in person—you’ll usually get the best outcome. However, there can be a number of reasons we might prefer to communicate via e-mail and situations in which it would be wiser to do so.
- Maybe you are the kind of person who has a hard time standing up for your needs in a conversation, so an email gives you a chance to get all your thoughts down clearly, to use as the seed for a later, in-person discussion.
- Maybe you need a record of the correspondence—either to refer back to later or to save as evidence of the dialogue.
- Maybe you need a chance to clarify your thinking and feel writing it down would get your message across better.
- Maybe you are worried your emotions will cloud your words in a conversation and muddy what you have to say, or potentially create more tension with the recipient.
- Maybe you need to send a message to a group to convey information in an organized way that can be referred back to.
Whatever your reason, when you have a hard letter to write it can be really challenging to know if you covered all the bases. Were you clear or did you over- or under-communicate? Did you keep a neutral tone or did you inject unnecessary drama, passive aggressiveness or negativity in your message? Did you communicate in a way that is likely to get you the results you are seeking? Did you take into account the perspective of the person on the receiving end?
In a perfect universe, we can send all our difficult emails to a trusted colleague, friend, or loved one to review and help us see our blind spots. But, what if that’s not an option? And how do you take into account the point of view of the recipient if you can’t really know what’s really going on in their world? If you’re at all like me, you may have many emails to write that require some level of “communication crafting” and need to complete them quickly as a part of your daily work.
In that case, consider using Tarot to help you clarify your message! Tarot can help you witness your blind spots, and also read into energies that you may just not be aware of in the situation.
What Kind of Deck to Use for Tarot-Based Email Advice
I find a full 78 card deck works best for adjusting emails, because I receive more nuanced information that way. However, if you keep your questions broad enough, a majors-only deck could be used, as well.
It’s helpful if the deck you choose is more pragmatic and story-based in its representation of the concepts. For instance, I’d choose a Rider Waite over a more abstract deck like the Thoth Tarot. Or perhaps a modern deck like The Portland Tarot that has more modern representations of concepts that can help you apply the card more easily to your situation. (The full deck is still in the process of being created as of this posting, but more general questions would still work well for the majors-only version that is currently available.)
Tips for Drafting Your Perfect Email,
with the Help of Tarot
You’ve got a deck handy at your desk and are ready to get writing. What next?
Get your first draft out. Chances are, if you aren’t sure about something in the message, you’ll know right away. You’ll get an uncertain feeling in your gut or will find yourself hesitating to click “send.” Or maybe you will feel gung ho to get that puppy out, but know deep down you are doing so out of a self-satisfied feeling of retribution. (Try to train yourself to think twice about sending “pissy” messages! You’ll usually regret it later.)
If you can’t send the letter in a state of grounded joy or neutrality, then it’s probably not ready to go out. Go back and evaluate what needs adjusting, or get yourself calmed down before trying again.Make sure you always send emails from a state of grounded joy. Tarot can help you find that place. Click To Tweet
Many important bridges have been burned over a hasty email! And maybe it’s a bridge you need to burn, but it never hurts to make sure, and to guarantee you are doing it in a way that you won’t later regret. If it is a bridge that truly should be burned, you should employ a 48 hour “wait rule” wherever possible.
After your letter is done, you can ask one of the following five questions, based on where your intuition is guiding you:
- Am I missing something?
- Is there something I should take out?
- What is working in my letter that I should make sure to keep?
- How could I improve my letter to make it clearer?
- How would I feel about it later if I sent this right now?
When a correspondence is especially important, I usually go through all of these questions, roughly in the order presented above. And when I get to the last question, if the card feels like positive outcome (say, I pull “The Sun,”) then I know I will be content with it.
Usually I don’t get to that right away… The cards often take me through a process of refinement and consideration that gets me to a good place before I am ready to send.
How to Read the Cards for Better Email Writing
Whatever your approach to reading is, feel free to apply it to this exercise.
Here are a few tips on how I like to use the cards for email writing:
- Consider reading reversals. It will sometimes give you a clearer, quick-hit signal about what’s off in your message.
- Consider how the figures in the image are relating to each other, to find inspiration for the adjustment that needs to be made.
For instance, let’s say you’re using the Rider Waite deck… If you pull the Six of Coins reversed, is the gut reaction you have to the card that someone in the image is being exploited? Maybe consider refining your letter to not put yourself in a position to give so much away, or, consider if your message might be implying that you are taking the other party for granted.
If it’s the Six of Cups reversed, does it make you feel like the children in the card are behaving childishly or perhaps not sharing well? Do you feel like you might be holding back or throwing a tantrum? It all depends on the nature of the correspondence you are writing and your own gut knowledge about yourself and the situation.
- Try to make a point to always read about “what to take out.” Most emails go wrong because of things that are said, rather than what is unsaid.
How Tarot-Adjusted Emails Have
Saved My Bacon
Most of the times that a more considered reply has saved my butt has been a result of misguided perceptions I had when I initially went into the dialogue.
I always work to behave from a place of grace, but I’m human, and other humans can annoy me at times. Maybe I feel taken for granted, abused, or simply put out. In these situations, after I write a reply, I’m immediately unsure. I may have tried not to have “a tone,” but knew deep down that I failed at keeping my annoyance under wraps. At these times, my hesitancy to hit “send” was a clear indicator that I needed to pull out my deck and make some revisions.
Tarot usually guides me to a more neutral tone and takes me away from my initial knee-jerk reaction. Later, when I find that I simply misunderstood the intent of the other party, didn’t take into account the challenges they were experiencing in their own lives (that had nothing to do with me), or simply injected my own projections and story into the scenario, I would later breathe a deep sigh of relief that I had the wherewithal to take the time to modify my response to one more in alignment with my highest self. And I can immediately see how much better the situation is as a result of this effort. It’s not difficult to imagine how things would have gone if I hadn’t.
I’ve also had to write really tough emails that had major life impact, on myself and the recipient. In those cases, keeping things concise, clear, and free of drama has had long-lasting, positive effects. Those carefully-crafted messages left me with a sense of peace—I kept my integrity intact and found as much positive closure as I could in a difficult situation.
It’s tempting at those times—especially for someone like me—to want to include a lot of emotional processing, but, in the end, Tarot would often guide me through the hard work of removing unnecessary elements that didn’t really support a clear resolution. I may have needed to process my emotions in the first draft for the sake of my own inner work, but it wasn’t fair or appropriate to share that process with the other party.
In short, taking the time to communicate from a heart-centered place has reduced the overall amount of drama in my life and dramatically increased my peace and happiness quotient.
How Do You Know You’ve Got it Right?
You’ll just know when an email truly feels done. You’ll be satisfied with any positive cards you get in closure and you’ll feel more grounded and centered in sending it off.
The ultimate goal in crafting the perfect email is to make sure we are sending all our messages from a place of love and respect. And I believe we can do this, even if the email is a difficult one where we are addressing mistreatment or boundary setting.Crafting the perfect email is the pursuit of a message imbued with love and respect. Click To Tweet
What kinds of communications do you find trickiest? Do you have any ways you like to use Tarot for writing correspondence? Did you like any of these ideas?
Share how you will use Tarot in your email and other communications below!
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