I strongly advise all of my clients never to say anything in an email that they would not say directly to the person’s face. I have observed countless examples of nasty, insulting emails sent by one person to the occupant of the very next office, when they could easily have gotten up and gone to the next office to communicate their thoughts in person. Almost invariably, they would not have said the same things directly that they said in the email.

In the days of letter writing before email, many people followed the practice of venting their feelings in a draft of a letter. They would then think about what was said in the letter for a day or so, rip up the nasty letter and start over. The problem with email is that it is instant-it is so easy to hit the “send” button. Once an email is sent, whatever was said lives in perpetuity. There’s no ripping it up or taking it back.