We just cannot imagine our life without emails, can we ? Even when I am on vacation or during relaxed weekends, at the end of the day, I somehow crave to check my emails. Not a very good habit, but whether we like it or not, emails are an integral part of our lives.
And of course emails are important and useful. Specially for work. It can reach many people at the same time, very effective for onsite - offshore global communication, it is fast, it creates a record of the communication. Email etiquette is a fast growing subject and I will talk about this in a later blog post.
But sometimes, emails just don't work. We have to work around emails to deal with these situations .
- When you are delivering very delicate news then the best way is face-to face. The facial expression, a light touch, a gentle smile or an encouraging look can convey the most difficult message without any words. Emails will never be able to substitute for these.
- When the situation becomes very heated , the possibility of misunderstanding the email increases. Emails just don't work here. It is better to talk and put the situation in the right perspective.
- When immediate response is needed , please pick up the phone and talk. Or better still have an impromptu meeting or walk up to the other person's cubicle and talk.
- When the email strand becomes very long, assess the status of the communication and determine when to intervene with a phone call or a meeting or initiate a new consolidated email. Recommended guideline is a maximum of four to five notes on an email chain before intervention.
- Privacy - there isn't any. When you have to deliver a confidential or sensitive information, emails is the worst medium. Remember, an email can be forwarded without your knowledge or consent to anyone. So beware !
Can you think of any other situation when emails do not work ? Have you experienced any situation when emails failed ?