Sometimes I get into a work mode where I am completely focused on churning out email responses to my workgroup, and it's usually late at night and I am just ripping through all the email that I received during the day: read, decide on action, respond. read, decide on action, respond. Thats when I usually send something sensitive to the wrong person (like when I hit reply instead of forward and sent it back to a key vendor, basically insulting them) or like last night, when I did one of those typos that actually works and changes the meaning of the entire message and sends one of my direct reports into a 15 minute panic state. The solution, for me as well as all of us, is to slow down, be intentional about our communication and not just haphazard, especially when we are using computer-mediated communication without all the voice tones, inflection, facial expressions and body language that help get our messages across the way we intend them.
But sometimes, even when we say the right thing, technology messes it up for us. Like this past Thanksgiving, for instance.
You know that new technology that takes a voicemail and converts it into text in an email and sends it to your phone? Well, my mother-in-law left a message for her son about Thanksgiving dinner, saying, "Dinner is at five, come over before whenever you want, we're going to play games and have snacks." What ended up on his phone was, "Dinner is at five, come over before when ever you want, were going to play games and have sex."
Either way, it was a Thanksgiving to remember.