I was interviewed on breakfast television about managing email when I was asked an interesting question. It wasn’t scripted or planned and, in fact, I’d never been asked that question before.
“How do you know if the tone of your email is correct?” the interviewer asked.
I paused for a moment before answering “if you are asking yourself that question, it’s probably a sign that you should be having a conversation instead.”
After the interview, I reflected on the question.
In business today we have become so email focussed. Whether it is to “cover” us from being told off or getting into trouble, or just because it’s easy, emailing isn’t always the right way to communicate.
Some conversations need to be taken offline to minimise the risk of misinterpretation and to respond to questions in the moment. It also provides you with the opportunity to listen to that person’s perspective of the situation.
I’ve heard people say I do it and apologise later. My philosophy is, minimise the need to apologise in the first place.
Rather than just hit send today, what about being constructive in your communication?
Pick up the phone or walk to a colleague’s desk or office rather than taking the easy option of sending an email and possibly picking up the pieces later. You may find you get clarity faster and your relationship is strengthened.