Watch your tone.
Image: Grammarly

Studies suggest that you’re more likely to be rude to someone if you can’t make eye contact with them. Which may explain why people feel much more comfortable directing vitriol at each other via social media than they would in a face-to-face interaction.

Communication has proven especially difficult in the context of remote work. With our interactions with clients and co-workers now taking place primarily via email and video chat, it’s for easier for intentions to get lost in translation — the perfect recipe for crossed wires.

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Grammarly’s Tone Detector tool uses a combination of machine learning and natural language processing techniques to help take the guesswork out of how your messages might come across. Previously only available on its desktop app, Tone Detector now features on the Grammarly Keyboard, which is available for Android and iOS devices.

Grammarly Keyboard provides real-time feedback on grammar, clarity and vocabulary as you punch out a message. With Tone Detector now available, the app will also advise you on whether your message sounds friendly, formal, confident, admiring, joyful, optimistic, and so on.

The feature works by analyzing a combination of signals in your writing, including capitalization, punctuation and word choice. Grammarly points out that composing a polished message on your smartphone is trickier than it is sitting at a computer: not only are you grappling with a much smaller screen, but you’re also more likely to be on the move and therefore navigating a much broader range of distractions that can result in an email faux pas.

Grammarly released results from a survey of professionals last year that highlighted the issue of miscommunication in the year of remote working. Of the 3,400 respondents, 93% admitted to making an email slip-up, with 64% making embarrassing typos or grammatical errors and 50% writing something that they said was misunderstood by the recipient.

Sixty percent reported being embarrassed by a work email they’d sent, while 20% were told their work tone was too harsh or aggressive.

Tone Detector can be accessed via the G icon on Grammarly Keyboard. Messages need to be at least 150 characters long for the feature to work.