E-MAIL, FRIEND OR FOE?

As a consultant to companies in the area of human resources and to individuals involved in career change decisions one topic consistent with both entities is communication. Some have labeled recent times as the age of communications yet employee surveys consistently rate poor communications at the top of their needs to change list with their bosses and employers. I have a theory; E-mail though quick and easy is often the major nemesis to clear and open communication. How can that be you say?

E-mails and text messaging have fostered the use of poor grammar, butchered spelling, made-up words and bullet point thinking. Many of the over 100 E-mails I receive each day read as though they were written by second graders in a hurry. Who gave us permission to think that sending a business related communication to another professional is OK using misspelled words, no capitalization, and incomplete sentences? I claim my fingers to be too big for text messaging on my cell but those messages my children send me are written in a language all their own, except that I’m supposed to interpret what they have written and respond.

In an effort to make a point or emphasize a feeling, the use of multiple exclaimation points, colored text or bolding text is often utilized. I suppose that if you count the number of exclamation points or consider the use of red font over green font over black font as more dramatic than you might be able to begin to understand the level of importance to which the author is making the point. Yet all too often, these methods are misinterpreted by the reader causing hurt feelings, strained relationships and over reaction.

It becomes all too easy for the E-mail receiver to hit the delete key before reading any or all of the many E-mails received each day. Job searchers who rely on E-mail to deliver resumes, make initial contact or conduct follow-up activities frequently tell me they aren’t sure if their information or messages are ever received. Even with exercising the delivery notification option the sender never knows to what extent the message is read or understood. And with the ever- present spaminators, if you aren’t their address book you very well may not be read.

E-mails sent and received are forever. Most companies have policies that allow them to monitor the E-mails sent from and delivered to their company. Corporate senders and readers should have no reason to believe that E-mails are private. A general rule of thumb in business E-mails is sending only positive comments and information; deliver negative comments in person. To improve communication though, consider delivering the positive comments in person. People thrive on hearing their name and receiving praise from persons they respect.

Don’t get me wrong, technology is wonderful. It saved me from mailing this column to my editor saving me 39 cents and three days or jumping in my car and hand delivering. But in most cases the in-person contact or at a minimum the voice to voice contact of a phone call will enhance the level and quality of communication between people at every station in life. Our lives have become so high-tech that we have lost the personal touch that is so important in shaping personalities and improving relationships.
so nxt time U need 2 deliver a msg TALK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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