Ok, I’m speaking to myself as much as I am to anyone on the issue of e-mail. If you’re like me e-mail and text messaging has become your top form of communication. I send and answer about 100 per day. While it makes me more efficient and saves lots of time, it does keep me from connecting personally with the person I’m e-mailing. I’ve noticed over the past few months that communications with several of my business associates and clients have been primarily through e-mail and text messaging.
Apparently I’m not alone. I just spent the better part of the morning arbitrating a serious conflict in an organization that was started by e-mail. After finally getting the sender and receiver to agree to meet with me we solved the situation rather quickly, but not before it had affected each employee within the organization.
Long story short, the e-mail addressed an important situation within the organization and was sent to the person whom the sender felt was most able to resolve the situation. Because the receiver seldom comes in contact with the sender she felt she was being blamed for the situation. Once they met face-to-face and explained their feelings it was a big case of misunderstandings.
An important thing to remember when using e-mail as your main source of communication is to never address personal or negative situations. E-mail and text messaging is just the words, which leaves it more misunderstood than the spoken words. E-mail is also more admissible in litigation than the spoken word.
It’s easy to sit behind a keyboard and address conflict and negative situations. Remember we all rely on tone of voice, facial expressions and eye gaze to figure out what someone really means. These are all factors that are lost when transmitting an e-mail.
Check your list of those whom you e-mail frequently, if you don’t know what sex they are, where they live or what race they are, it’s probably time you met them face-to-face or gave them a phone call.