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Wednesday
Nov022011

Choosing talk over email

An article by Anthony Tjan in today's Harvard Business Review Blog Network "Don't Send That Email. Pick up the Phone!" highlights the trend to using email to deal with things, particularly the tough stuff.

  "There is a rising and unproductive trend towards people trying to do digital conflict resolution."

It's easy to see why. Having the time to compose your email makes you feel in control. If you're doling out criticism, it's easier to do that online than face to face. The problem, of course, is that the tough stuff needs a lot more care than can ever be conveyed by email. You can't convey the right tone of voice or demonstrate empathy through an email, not really. Plus emails have a tendency to pick up hangers-on, the cc'd and the bcc'd. That only complicates things further.

I remember a client telling me about an email exchange with a colleague, involving a disagreement. They worked in the same office but this tit for tat was going on for weeks. I suggested he bring his colleague a coffee and talk it over. The issue, unsurprisingly, evaporated almost instantly. 

In our move to email and messaging we've lost confidence in our ability to talk about things. I think I will join Anthony Tjan and make it a new year's resolution to opt for the phone over the email, or better yet, face to face.

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December 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrolex

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