Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Email – not always the best way to communicate

By: Scott Stein, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

I’ve been in the communication business my entire adult life – first as a radio and newspaper reporter and now as a PR pro. Of course, much has changed in the decades I’ve been at this. The vast majority of my time as a reporter took place before the Internet and email were a big thing. Now, the communication options seem to be endless and changing every day. 

Even with the advent of social media and all the ways we can communicate with each other, email remains an important component, particularly in the business world. A recent article on caught my attention…“Email Spells Disaster for Leadership Communication.”

The thrust of the article was basically – don’t rely on emails for things that really matter! It’s a topic that we’ve discussed a number of times in the office. Email is great. You can carefully craft your message and take time to review it before clicking send. But I think we all understand, yet sometimes forget, that there are definitely times when it’s best to pick up the phone and talk to someone directly. And there are times when you need to communicate in person.

While you can certainly take your time with email and formulate the exact response you want, we are often faced with a large volume of emails which can lead to mistakes as we rush through them. That can be a problem. As the piece pointed out, “you can lose the ability to convey tone in email communication.” Misinterpretation can happen because “people emphasize different parts of the message and ‘hear’ it different than was intended.” And that’s more likely to happen when you zip through a lot of emails at once and fire off quick responses that can seem terse.

So next time you sit down to go through that long list of emails, think about whether an email response is the best way to go. It may be time for a phone call or that in-person meeting.   

Do you prefer to communicate via email? Would you rather get a call on occasion? Let me know what you think. Post your comment here…or give me a call to discuss. 

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