How Do You Respond to Questions?
Is it a question or is it a challenge? Email is notoriously difficult for communicating “tone,” which is why emoticons, or combinations of punctuation marks used to denote an emotion, sprang into usage. One of the most difficult issues I find is posing a question in an email. How do we get it to just be a question, and not sound like a demand, or a veiled attack? In conversation, asking, “Why didn’t you do Z?” can just sound like curiosity, but without a smile or a lilt of the voice, it can appear to be a cranky nag.
When I receive emails like that, I try to remember to assume the best of the person and not in turn question their motivations. If it really appears to be an issue, I’ll pick up the phone – I might not be able to see their face, but at least I can hear their voice.
On Sunday, I’ll be answering lots of questions. Along with your order of service, you’ll have an index card to write down your question – we’ll gather those at the offering, and I’ll answer as many as I can during the “sermon” time. I want the kids to be involved, too, so if you have a child or youth in your house, ask them what question they would like to pose to me. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org by Saturday, and I’ll answer those during the children’s time.