Saturday, September 17, 2011

Five Words

“Did. You. Get. The. Email?”

Those are five words I hate to hear. Here are five more: “It is in the email.” And this one: “I sent you an email.” Or “Didn’t you read my email?” “Instructions are in the email.” “Everyone should have the email.”

Email is a great tool but it is often also an electronic excuse or a substitute for real communication of an idea, a request or instructions. Here are fives words of a manager mantra: “Get it off my desk.”

What I’m trying to say is that people in the workplace often assume that as soon as they hit send, their responsibility ends. They said what they had to say and they assume everyone who got the email will drop everything and do whatever they asked for in the email. That might just work if only one person was emailing only one or two others, but what happens when ten or twenty people email something to forty or a hundred people? “I sent out an email.” “Didn’t you read my email?”

And we are now so used to texting, chatting and tweeting, that if our work place does not have chat or messaging, we use email for one-sentence or half-sentence communication. If that involves several people whose feedback you’re seeking, you end up with twenty or thirty ‘reply-all’ messages and have to sort through the email chain to see what is actually requested.

Sometimes my five-word response is this: “Don’t send me an email.” Or “Call me on the phone.” Or “I will come see you.”

Thank you for reading this.

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