Have you seen that State Farm commercial with the two very different “days”? One girl discovers a new car in the driveway while a businessman finds his car on blocks with missing tires. Both the girl and the businessman exclaim, “What a day!” That same sentence expresses completely different perspectives on the “day” shown through the images and the inflections used by the characters. But how can we share meaning and tone in emails and text messages? How can we make sure that recipients understand exactly what we are trying to express? For my friends and colleagues, it’s easy to decipher the tone of my texts and emails. If there is no exclamation point, I am ANGRY!! I once sent an email to ask for clarification about a pay issue. I started with a very angry, “Thank you so much for your investigation of this issue.” Notice there is no exclamation point, a sure sign that this sentence is very aggressive. What? You can’t see that tone? Well the supervisor didn’t understand the significance of the missing exclamation point either and sent a very cordial reply thanking me for my understanding. My tone and real concern was NOT communicated in the email. Next time I will use words to express my feelings like “frustrated” and “troubled” and make sure I provide detailed descriptions of events or actions to support my concerns. Remember to always be professional, but find ways to make your tone and message clear and understandable. etc Strategies believes that good communicators make deliberate word choices and include adequate details to make sure texts and emails express the desired tone. And an exclamation point now and then can always help!!