Still thinking about the continued rise of email/text vs. live personal interaction. My point in these blogs isn’t to demonize the technology because I am a huge proponent. I have personally been involved in the technology industry for over 20 years. The efficiencies and speed they have added to business are undeniable, but they have their place. They are not a replacement for good (sometimes uncomfortable) human interaction. And there are people that use email/text to avoid engaging with people live. While this condition is likely the primary driver for the folks that send those emotionally charged emails I wrote about previously, it’s also awful tempting to use email and text to replace communication with someone who talks endlessly, has a negative attitude or is continuously critical. Even worse, with Caller ID we can “ignore” those that actually pick-up the phone to make contact with US. We can use our digital tools to respond rather than calling them back.
I must admit that I am no prince and have, on occasion, used email or text for just these reasons. I always feel guilty and force myself to reach out to the individual to handle the situation more appropriately. It blows me away when I get an email from someone down the hall or in the next office that isn’t a doc exchange or mtg request (appropriate uses of email). They can’t come see me? Usually, I just get up and go to their office. Hopefully, I am not someone they are trying to avoid!!
I think it is fair to say that every organization needs to communicate effectively in order to be successful. Email (and social media for that matter) has a place in a company’s communication fabric but can’t be a dominant method. There are a number of companies that are addressing the issue of out of hand email and doing something about it. This article from the WSJ, Email Backlash Builds, shares the efforts of a couple companies to have their employees better engage with their co-workers by walking away from email (at least for a little while) and picking up the phone or walking down the hall.
How is the quality of communication in your business? Personally, where do you fit? Are you an avoider? Are people avoiding you?