I am writing in response to yesterday's conference call in which I was embarrassed that I wasn't up-to-date in my information about the ABC Corporation deal. I think it's important that we address this issue right away.

First, ABC said that I need to coordinate with you more effectively to save them the job of repeating conversations. This was pretty humiliating to me as you and I certainly ought to be in close touch about this customer.

Second, I expect you to keep me up-to-date at every step along the way. I expect you to do that without my having to hear updates from the customer.

Best, Paula

Note that there were five references to Jim (the reader) and thirteen references to Paula (the writer), resulting in a negative Empathy Index (five minus thirteen equals negative eight).

Consider the writer's objective. What does Paula want Jim to do? Remember to express her objective as an action step.

What did you decide is Paula's objective? Isn't it true that Paula wants Jim to cooperate, contact her with news, and include her in meetings and updates?

With that objective in mind, rewrite the E-mail to ensure a positive Empathy Index.

It's easy to be distracted from our objective by our emotions. Listen to Paula's perspective. "The situation was embarrassing and humiliating. I had no idea whether Jim was keeping me in the dark because he was try

Them Us

Empathy Index

ing to sabotage me or he was incompetent, but I knew I had to do something. My instinct was to attack—read my first draft.

"The Empathy Index saved me from making the situation worse by forcing me to keep my focus on what was important. Rather than berate Jim, a pointless exercise, it made more sense for me to maintain a calm tone."

As you'll see in the upcoming chapters, there are lots of approaches to revising first drafts. We've seen that there are several ways to write well. You'll see that there are several ways to revise well, too. Here is Paula's revision:

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