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J. Lindsay Brown Dance presents
How to Write “that” Letter to “that” Person
Confrontation is stressful, even when you are in the right! It is especially tough dealing with those emotionally charged emails at 2AM. Well, first, don’t reply at 2AM if at all possible, and always give at least 6 hours for you to cool off (many people say 24 but I personally don’t find this realistic).
Remember: the more ridiculous and provocative they are, the more professional you become. Your reply cannot stoop to their level, and don’t feed the flame; you need to show, without a doubt, that you are in control, and that you are going to stay in control.
I developed this system with the help of family members who are well versed in business management and contract law. It has yet to steer me wrong, and always gives me the confidence that, no matter what madness the other side throws at me, that I will respond appropriately. Doing this cuts down on email and interpersonal drama, and often will either push the offending party to finally just leave, or will regain a firm handle on their behavior moving forward.
1. Don’t Apologize for things that you don’t need to apologize for (aka “the symbolic apology”)
You can say “I’m sorry Susie Snot feels that way” (because she is such a pain in your ass that you do feel sorry about it). However, do not say “I am sorry I corrected Susie Snot on her crappy dancing”). Sometimes this is all people want, anyway.
2. Don’t Over explain or over justify:
You aren’t actually on trial, and this is your class/studio/team. Beyond what you write below, you shouldn’t need to explain yourself beyond one or two sentences.
3. Don’t Give the crazies ammo (and stick to the NOW):
Do not bring up past situations that are not DIRECTLY related to this event. Do not bring up other parents or students. Doing so only gives them a chance to derail the conversation (like one does in marriage counseling or on the Dr. Phil show).
4. Don’t Let your emotions run wild
I know: you are emotional because this BS is upsetting (sometimes the cry in the shower with a bottle of wine level of upsetting) . But do not let it bleed into your letter. The fact you are hurt is irrelevant to this. The fact you feel betrayed is also irrelevant. The fact that this is ABSURD ARE YOU JOKING is irrelevant. They will already bring the drama, so send it back to that momma.
Side note: Let someone who isn’t involved read your email before you send it. You might think you sound calm and collected when you say “Any sane person would realize that this is inappropriate” but you don’t.
5. Don’t Argue in Email/text
It’s not a break up with a boyfriend...this is business. So treat it as such and don’t get sucked into an email war. You have better things to do, like watch TV and drink wine. In your note, make it clear they need to follow up in person (as needed) then stick to it. If they reply like a crazypants, then simply copy and paste your request that they set up an in person meeting with you and send it again. After that, STOP REPLYING. If they want to talk with you and you are nervous, arrange for someone else to be in the studio and within earshot. Don’t let them bully you into continuing the conversation. This is your call, not theirs.
Outline & What to Say
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