Why e-Mail Isn’t Always Your Best Option

A White Elephant Called “e-Mail”

I’m still digging through my Office Dynamics archives and found this great topic I want to share with you. It is in regards to an article I had read a while back called: E-mail Overload Costs Companies Billions in Lost Productivity. I am very passionate about this topic and have been speaking to assistants and their executives on this subject for the past several years. The need to deal with the white elephant is more important than ever. The average number of e-mails and assistant manages between her/his e-mail and their executive’s email is 225 per day; and about 350 on the high side! And each e-mail takes 1 – 4 steps or more. Your entire day can be trampled by e-mail.

This topic is at the core of my being from many perspectives: as a business owner, a vendor to clients, a client to vendors, and someone who loves and hates e-mail.  E-mail has grown into a ginormous, white elephant and we are being stampeded by it. The good news is that every one of us can reduce the number of e-mails we send.

While technology has dramatically changed our lives and provides many benefits, it also presents challenges. I am going to address both—opportunities and dangers.  I highly encourage you to do your own research on this subject.  If you are to maintain your star edge, you must motivate yourself to do your homework.

First and Most Important

STOP… THINK… SELECT

E-mail, IM, telephone, voice mail or face-to-face? Which is the appropriate medium to use in any given situation? We need to know when to use technology and when the “Human Moment” is critical. How do we know that? We have to be a good decision-maker. Here are some questions to ask yourself during the decision-making process:

  • Could the message I’m delivering be misconstrued or misinterpreted in any way?
  • Could the information I’m communicating be taken as hurtful in any way?
  • Could I come across as being prejudiced or biased?
  • Is this bad news for the recipient?
  • Because the receiver can’t hear my tone in an e-mail, will she know I’m just joking?

While we won’t always make the best choices, we can at least try to make better choices.

Goal/Motive

Start with the end in mind by asking yourself these questions:

  • What is my purpose for communicating with this person?
  • What information am I sending?
  • What do I need from the other person?
  • What do I hope will happen as a result of communicating with this person?

Once you determine your goal in communicating, try to answer the following questions.
Are you:

  • Trying to build rapport or gain trust?
  • Introducing yourself?
  • Relaying a message?
  • Expressing an idea or thought?
  • Informing co-workers of important news?
  • Providing data?

Relationship

Then think about your relationship to the recipient:

  • How long have you known him/her?
  • Is he/she a
    • Co-worker?
    • Staff member?
    • High-level executive?
    • Vendor?
    • Business associate?
    • Mentor?

Last, Select Media

  • E-mail
  • Voice mail
  • Face-to-face
  • Telephone
  • Instant Messaging
  • Internal Correspondence

Help me stop the e-mail stampede. It will save all of us time and increase profitability, which ultimately affects every employee.  Let’s make this a goal for not only this week but for the months ahead.

Don’t forget to stay connected with us for great surprises all month long! We’ll be giving away 25 prizes in honor of 25 years throughout the month of June. You will want to be sure you’re connected with us (and engaging) on ALL fronts!

Joan Burge

Are you ready to create your best week ever?

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