Email communication has over taken snail mail, telephone conversation and face to face interactions. The challenge is the time it takes to ‘read’ and ‘deal’ with emails. Some interesting facts of Email –
- It’s easy, quick and convenient.
- The email is sent out on own terms of sender.
- CC people in the information and claim to have communicated.
- The email is likely to read rather than rejected.
- A satisfaction of completion of task.
- Perceived as time saver.
- A good medium to avoid issues.
I would like to quote a line – “Sending an email is a very poor form of communication” – M. Wash (this is particularly so for internal email)
We teach in our career communication skills module that, its two way process and feedback is received the way the receiver interprets. It can be observed email communication is one of the poorest form to communicate within companies. I personally spend more than couple of hours answering to the emails everyday of which about 20 % may be important. I have come across managers, they spend more than 50% of their time responding to and sending out emails.
One receive message and understood viz-aviz through email is different compared with a telephone conversation or, even better, a face to face meeting. I learnt a big deal yesteryears from Praveen P. Desai, Sr. Manager, Yahoo! India and Sachin Kodagali, Sr.Software Engg (presently in Microsoft) is to have a telephone conversation about agenda, meet face to face and minute of meeting via email. The weightage for email was less in comparison of former two.
It has become a trend in many organizations – emails are sent ‘just in case’ or managers are kept in loop ‘just in case’ they need or want to know! It can lead to an interesting theory of ‘fear factor at work place’.
Nine commandments for efficient utilization of email culture are -
- Do not use emails as a mode of chat or gossip.
- Only copy (CC, BCC) people in if they have asked to be kept informed.
- Maintain a efficient email system.
- Let the subject speak itself (For Your Information, Urgent, Important etc).
- A clear concise business/communication email (Salutation, Introduction, Reason, Summary and Conclusion) will help receiver to judge and respond.
- Do not use BLOCK letters – It is misinterpreted as abusive.
- Ignore unclear purpose emails.
- Take a decision of quick telephone conversation or face to face meeting.
- You should rarely email anyone who works in the same office area as yourself.
In last fifteen months, I learnt how to respond to unclear emails from Dr. Nandkishore Rathi, CNO, Loratis Career School. Some of his versions are -
- Discuss with me!
- Talk to me!
- Did you mean this?
- Don’t understand.
The above phrases may be good indicators that emails are the least effective form of communication within organizations. We have subsumed clear policy few weeks ago on to how to manage emails and communicated to customers – it’s amazing how it has improved relationships.
Sr. Business Navigator
Loratis Career School
-Find Your True North!