Recently, as part of a general tidy-up, I’ve been re-organising my email accounts (as each provider uses a slightly different approach). Not quite so dull as it sounds as it got me thinking about how I can use email better.
Looking at sample email threads, it’s clear that a summary email would often be very helpful – you could then discard all the previous ramblings and sidetracks. At the time it’s not important as you can keep it all in your head (so the motivation for doing it is low) but 6 months later – nightmare! So I’ll start doing this as an experiment and see how effective it is (you can just send the email to yourself if you don’t want to share it).
The other issue that crops up is that emails can all to easily start replacing the voice. Once again, looking at samples, I realised that sending emails wasn’t always very effective – a quick call would have been better. Apart from basic communication, in conversations you can pick up related facts than no-one would be bothered to write in an email and you can also gauge feelings through the tone of voice. Hopefully, in many cases, it will also be fun!
So, I’m going to phone more from now on and keep a short note of the outcomes. This post by Mitch Ditkoff summed it up well (he discusses a number of ways of handling email better):
Use the Phone More: If you need a quick answer, call. If you have something long to explain, call. If an emotional issue is on the table, call. If you need to establish rapport with someone, call.
Regarding email in general, it’s always wise to remember that
The goal, by the way, is communication, not transmission.