I love email and how it's made life so much easier for PTO and PTA leaders. We can work and communicate from anywhere at any time, and we can involve so many more people thanks to email.

But I also know that email can exacerbate drama within a parent group and that avoiding PTO drama is a key to growing your group and doing good work. Drama-filled groups inevitably chase away good volunteers. So it's essential that we are careful with email.

I have two fundamental tips for avoiding email drama (and the same applies to texting). First, if you are in any way annoyed or angry or miffed -- please, please don't use email. Step away from the keyboard. Email lacks tone and tact. Critical or questioning emails are always read by the recipient more harshly than the sender intends. And that increases drama. If in doubt, don't type -- pause instead. And if you still need to question or criticize, call or visit the person.

Second, if you feel the need to be critical about someone else, never, ever do that via email. Assume that whatever you write will be read by your entire PTO or PTA, including the criticized. The “I saw your critical email” drama is about as bad as it gets for a PTO. 

As I said, I love email for PTOs (in fact, check out our free Parent Express email tool), but it's definitely worth a bit of care to use email correctly and avoid drama.