When I do new-hire orientations on our Information Technology resources, one of the major topics is e-mail. The first thing I say is: “E-mail has become the most important means of business communication. That’s too bad. Communicating by e-mail is a very stark, raw form compared to sitting down with someone and having a conversation where you have rich visual and verbal elements that drastically enhance the communication. Even a phone call is better than e-mail”. I then go on to discuss policies and best practices to help manage one’s e-mail.
It might seem incongruous that an I.T. Director would discourage the use of e-mail, but this is a thoughtfully deliberated position that touches on issues of community, mentality, perception and success. It is ironic to note that as technology has given us more and more ways of communicating, there is an indisputable and significant decline of physical interaction. Physical interaction is, however, the necessity of community and even more fundamentally, humanity.
Here’s a company which, with more pragmatic motivations, is radically assaulting the morass of e-mail: http://news.yahoo.com/tech-firm-implements-employee-zero-email-policy-165311050.html
Think about this topic and maybe you’ll find yourself having more face to face conversations and reap the benefits thereof.
~ Danä – Director of IT