Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The e-mail merry-go-round

It's amazing how one e-mail can all of a sudden becomes a storm of e-mails. It's fun (or painful) to watch how responses cascade and how different people react. Some respond to all while others only to the author, some give lengthy responses and others only one sentence. Often times messages begin crossing in cyberspace. The worse part is that the original intent often gets lost, words get misinterpreted, and the solution gets farther away. To then get back to the problem, you have to first massage the hurt feelings before getting everyone back on the same page.

I've written in the past about this, but since it seems to keep coming back, I'm going to discuss this again. Some keys for e-mail:
- Break the chain of e-mail exchanges: Instead of responding to a message for the second, third or 10th time, pick up the phone or walk over to the person
- Start the message with the outcome you want: i.e. for review and comment, FYI...
- Don't copy people you don't want to respond
- Watch you're tone, conversely be careful of interpreting the tone (computers don't have body language)
- Avoid negative responses or attacks in an e-mail: You'd be more hesitant to confront them in person, so don't fire away from the safety of the itnernet.
- Take a breath and reread - Before reacting, reread the e-mail before responding. Try to see where the other person is coming from.
- Remember an e-mail is not a true conversation. You're missing 90% of the information which usually comes in body language. In reading e-mail you often replace that 90% with your own feelings.

I'm now heading to a meeting to resolve the problems that occured from the last set of e-mails.


Post a Comment

<< Home