The Pitfalls of Email

Have you ever received a stroppy email?
Have you ever sent a caustic email?
Have you ever been involved in one of those escalating email spats where the protagonists progressively increase their rhetoric and copy in more and more people?
Have you ever offended someone with a mis-interpreted jokey email comment?
Have you ever responded rapidly, perhaps in a fit of pique, to an email, then later wished that you hadn’t?

If you have answered yes to one or more of these questions then you are not alone!

Email is a fantastic business communication tool when used properly. However, there are times when it just isn’t the right medium to use. Email helps us rapidly fire off that missive without having to see or hear the other person’s immediate reaction and without having to justify, in real-time, what we have just said. This lack of real-time feedback can make us all feel a little bit brave from behind the cover of our PC’s or mobile devices and to write things that we would not dream of saying to someone.

Without the intonation of a voice conversation, it’s very easy to misinterpret comments, all too easy to jump to conclusions and then reply in haste to an email. That reply, written in red hot anger, may not look quite so good later when things have cooled. However unfortunately, once sent, it is there in black and white for everyone to see and forward on.

Email or even social media communication methods are great for straightforward communication, but once the communication has the potential to be misread or become emotionally charged a different approach is needed.

The answer is simple and something that we all have to hand - a telephone! A phone call to discuss issues with someone else will enable a far swifter solution to be reached than a back and forth email chain. It’s why, despite the advent of all digital technologies, most leading brands still encourage their customers to contact them by phone for complex or emotional queries.

So the next time that you receive an email that you don’t like, pause before responding. Then pick up the phone. You’ll almost certainly save yourself time and reach a far more mutually satisfying conclusion.