In today’s world there is a great deal of focus on speed, multitasking, and real time interactions. We are often fooled into thinking that handling critical conversations through email is more efficient. In reality, key messages get lost, the emotional intelligence is hard to convey and perceive accurately in email. Emails on critical topics allow individuals to have monologues, avoiding interaction, collaboration, conflict and, ultimately, resolution.
As with anything, too much of a good thing becomes toxic. Yes, email has enhanced efficiencies; however, email should not be abused as the channel to resolve critical topics. I have seen and am surprised by the continuation of email dialogue (or so one thinks it to be) used as an inappropriate vehicle.
Often times, emails are misinterpreted, defenses are raised, lost time is spent on the back and forth, emotions flare and the result – no resolution and the parties have to start not from square one but have to back pedal to try and create a safe environment where difficult conversations can happen collaboratively.
I've also heard these types of text-message miscommunications referred to as "poor text-tone." Sometimes we might text something short and to the point, which can be misunderstood as curtness or rudeness. If it's an important message, picking up the phone might be more to your advantage so your text-tone is not misunderstood.
So, the irony is that the use of email to resolve critical conversations/issues is that it actually takes more time, not less.
Although email is a necessary tool in today’s world, at SIGMA we try to talk more and type less as much as possible.
So, before you type the next email, ask yourself would this be better done in person or at least voice-to-voice vs. an email?