Outlook Plug-in Helps Temper Email
ToneCheck is like having your mom looking over your shoulder while you're typing an email and asking, "Do you really want to send that? You know, you'll catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar."
More than 50 percent of email messages are misinterpreted, according to a study by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Angry emails can be passed on to others, resulting in consequences as unintended as the original message may have been … or not.
ToneCheck is an add-on to Outlook email that can be activated for an emotional review of messages before they're sent. ToneCheck is free.
To download, you'll have to set up an account first with your email and a password. Visit "My Account" and download the version of ToneCheck that matches your Outlook version, 2003, 2007 or 2010. The developers of ToneCheck say versions for Outlook Express, Apple email, Gmail and Thunderbird are in the works, but no release date has been made available. Make sure to close Outlook before installing the program. Installation takes about two minutes.
Restart Outlook , choose new message and check the upper right corner of the new message window to see "Run ToneCheck" and its "Settings." Settings allows you to adjust the program's tolerance for both negative comments and positive ones. The default will launch ToneCheck when the send button is pressed. Alternately, you can deselect run upon send and rely on the manual controls when you you want to doublecheck an important email for tone, rather than using it as a way to ensure a cooling off period.
When you hit send, your message with 128-bit encryption to the ToneCheck servers where it is quickly scanned for words and phrases that indicate something other than a neutral tone including affection, elation, amusement, gratitude, sadness, fear, loathing and humiliation. Each flagged word or phrase can be modified or ignored within a single pop-up window. Once you're satisfied with the tone, hit send and off it goes to the recipient.
The developers remind users that the program is still in its beta or testing stage and encourages feedback. You may find phrases that are missed or miscategorized. For instance, "You are so amazing" was flagged as amusing when affection or elation may have been more appropriate. "Sloppy and disappointing" was flagged as sad. Delete "disappointing" and ToneCheck says, "less sad, but humiliating."
"Please" seems to be the magic word in ToneCheck―add it and instantly go from humiliating to contented.