It is a common issue in our office and, I’m sure, many offices across North America, that email is the preferred form of communication.
I am part of this “issue” (if it really needs to be considered an issue), I fully admit, but I think it is an old school problem. People who started in business before email existed, or even when email existed but before it was trusted, have a mind-set that for real communication to happen it has to be done on the phone or in person. Is this still true in our information age?
When it comes to work, I often hesitate to pick up the phone, mostly because I feel like I lack the skills of telephone conversation, but I can often get my point across better when I have thought it out and put time into writing my message in an email. And I don’t usually have a problem with this form of communication.
Some people do have a problem with it, though, and I find that those people usually conform to the “old school,” a world where technology can’t be trusted and business can be done on a handshake.
So when my dad/boss says to me, “why don’t you just call this person,” I say, “I am a much better communicator via email,” and isn’t that what it’s all about, being able to effectively communicate?
I understand the value of a telephone conversation, as well. Sometimes you just need to get a hold of a person to relay a quick or urgent message or for clarity, to fully understand the message. I think talking to a person on the phone has value, but it’s not the only way, and it’s not always necessary.
I am, here and now, making a stand for email as a positive form of communication (without knocking the telephone) and long for a world where I can send emails without judgment and expectations of a call to follow.