We’ve never had more ways to communicate, and, it seems, we’ve never done such a poor job of getting our message across. From scribbles and hieroglyphics on the cave wall to texting (or pressing your lapel pin with the request “Beam me up!”), the goal of communication has always been the same – to share what’s in our heads with others.
Email seems to be a great answer. Handled appropriately, it can be immediate without being an interruption. You can attach files and maintain the entire string of the conversation. Of course, one of the big complaints about email is that there’s just too darn much of it. Have you ever actually enjoyed seeing that you have 173 emails after a day out of the office? How much time has been sucked out of your day because too many idiots can’t resist hitting “reply all”?
Consider the policy enacted at U.S. Cellular (as recounted in Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive*). The executive vice president decreed that none of the 5000 employees could use email on Fridays. What? Yes, you read that correctly. Email-free Fridays. Some deemed this seemingly insane policy on the company’s desire to increase revenues by running up employees’ cell phone bills. Not at all. You probably know that the bulk of communication is really non-verbal. Body language, eye contact and facial expression all play a huge role in accurate communication. Those elements are missing from email. Emoticons notwithstanding. :-d (That’s my tongue-in-cheek emoticon.
Guess what happened? Communication clarity and understanding improved. In fact, “two coworkers who previously had an email-only relationship were forced to talk to each other by phone. In the course of doing so, they were surprised to learn that they were not, in fact, across the country from each other, but rather, across the hall!”
So is the solution to banish email? Not really; however, it’s important to understand its limitation in the communication process.
When you need help getting your message across, contact WriteWordForYou for the help you need.
*by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert B. Cialdini