Some of us can remember life before email. And others can’t remember, or possibly imagine, life without email. Has our use of email gone too far? Perhaps it has. Are we too dependent on email? Perhaps we are.
Recently, I received an email asking me if I was willing to write a letter of recommendation. I thought, “Well, sure. But I have some questions first.” Questions like what job/position are you applying for? What skills do you have that make you a good fit? Why do you want the job?
I really love using email. Do you? So, let’s not lose sight that email has an important job to do. However, as with many things, too much (or too little information) is just too much.
Here are five reasons to choose another form of communication over email.
- I have bad news. I know it’s easy to hide behind an email when delivering bad news, but easy doesn’t make it the best form of communication. Bad news should be communicated face-to-face whenever possible. A second alternative is to video chat. In the least, pick up the phone.
- It’s complicated. When the information sent is complex or filled with detail, email doesn’t offer enough space to include everything you need to include. A good alternative is to put it in another form of writing, like a word document, and attach the file. Use the email to summarize the attachment. Even better, give it in written form and be there to walk the recipient through it.
- Let’s discuss. A sign that communication needs more discussion before taking email form is when email ping pong occurs. I send you an email. You send one back with a question. I send an email back to you with the answer. You return an email with additional questions. You get the picture I’m sure. Pick up the phone or stop by your coworker’s cubicle to discuss, and THEN send the email to summarize.
- I’m ticked off. It can’t be said enough … if you are angry, upset, annoyed, or any other adjective that describes a negative mood, stay away from email. Tone is too easy to be misinterpreted in email when one is in a good mood, so stay away from email when in a bad mood. Take time to cool off and then communicate face-to-face or via the phone – it will help you keep your emotions under control.
- I know this will tick you off. We miss a huge opportunity to manage the aftermath of ticking someone off when we use email. If you expect a negative reaction, be there to respond to it when it occurs. Again, face-to-face is the best alternative, but if needed, use the phone or a video chat.
Click below for two other great resources!
5 Email Etiquette Tips by Expressive!
Article by Frank Sonnenberg