“Isn’t email terrible? Things so easily get misconstrued.” During a recent email exchange, I thought I had upset my colleague. This was her response after I sent a message apologizing to her. Turns out she was not upset at all and the message I misinterpreted was, in fact, intended as a quip. A five-minute phone call would have been infinitely more effective than our 30-minute email exchange.
I am terrible at hiding behind emails and convincing myself that it is okay because I can more effectively convey my sentiments. Leaders should never forget that the best way to communicate is face-to-face. So much of a message, both verbal and non-verbal, is lost when you or your people are guessing at what it means from behind a computer screen. Additionally, email should never be used as a “surrogate” to convey something that you don’t possess the strength of character to share in person.
Stop wasting time and energy writing or trying to interpret the messages of others. Get on the phone, or better yet, walk down the hall to someone’s office. When it comes to effective communications, there is no substitute for sitting knees-to-knees with your people to make sure you understand…and that you are understood.
Be intentional about it…
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