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We don’t talk anymore …What are the pitfalls of email?

In a world where email and online interaction have become the norm, people are actually talking to each other less and less. The new norm has some pitfalls.

Image of numerous at symbols arranged to create the optical illusion of a pit

Today’s  24×7 socially connected world has us interacting in the digital space more than ever before. We all ‘connect’ on LinkedIn; ‘friend’ each other on Facebook; ‘tweet’ our deepest, most thoughtful insights — in 140 characters or less; and we can watch almost anything on YouTube!  We have customized feeds that send us a constant barrage of information daily … hourly…..even every minute.  We have more access to information, data and processing power in the palms of our hands with our smart phones than the Apollo missions had in their lunar modules.  Why, then, don’t we talk anymore?!

In a word — email!  We all love to complain about it.  We all get way too much of it.  Some of us even wear it as a badge of honor — “I typically get more than 225 emails a day!” a friend recently told me.  As if that were a key measurement of productivity … or of importance.  Sad!!

OK, benefit of the doubt, perhaps the problem isn’t actually email (a nod to an old friend from high school who was one of the original developers of a new product at Microsoft which came to be known as Outlook).  No, the problem is the way we are using email.  Email is a wonderful tool — great for communicating, setting appointments and meetings, and sending contracts and other important documents around the world in the blink of an eye.  The problem is that email has morphed from a great tool into our de-facto method of communicating with one another!

With so many ways to communicate about so many different things, it amazes and confounds me that we have developed an aversion, almost a phobia, to picking up the telephone and having a good conversation with another person.  We deride others for this practice but get caught up in our busy lives and end up doing it ourselves.  We’ve been trapped; damned if you do/damned if you don’t.  Here is a challenge to each of you — break the cycle!  It is much easier said than done, but here are a few tips:

  1. Do not use the ‘Reply All’ button!  I’ve got news for you, most of the people in the ‘To’ and ‘cc’ lines really don’t care about your response — which is typically only targeted to one or two people anyway!
  2. Please don’t respond simply to thank me.  I know the information was useful and/or timely or I wouldn’t have sent it to you in the first place.  No need to clutter up my Inbox and divert my attention with yet another email just to say ‘Thanks’
  3. Ask yourself, “If I were sending this via USPS, UPS or FedEx, would I still send it?”  If the answer is no, then the answer is no.  Please don’t send it to me.
  4. I don’t check my mailbox at home 75 times every day.  Why do you expect me to check my Inbox that many times?!  Note:  I don’t … see point #3 above!
  5. Schedule time for yourself (a good habit anyway) to work, manage and respond to the email in your Inbox.  If you schedule two or three blocks of time spread throughout the day it is usually sufficient to ensure you haven’t missed ‘the end of the world’ while you’ve been doing everything else required in your day.
  6. THINK — this is a lost art!  If I send you something via email it is because I believe it is important to you or it is something I think you need.  Do me the favor of thinking about your reply before just shooting back a quick note (usually without having read or understanding my entire message).
  7. Better yet — after reading through all of these tips, pick up the phone, call me and let’s have a conversation!

Perhaps if we follow some of the tips I’ve outlined above, we can spend less time emailing and more time talking. Too much email ends up being counterproductive, but a good conversation can do wonders for productivity.

Give us a call today! Let’s talk!

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About John Dubay

As Director of Operations, John Dubay is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of Sound Telecom's multiple service delivery centers and for ensuring the highest levels of service, support, quality and value for Sound Telecom's many clients. John brings 20+ years of experience in client services, account management and operations management with outsourced BPO and customer service organizations worldwide to Sound Telecom. His ability to leverage previous experiences in multiple industry verticals and successes in the consistent management and delivery of client specific operational metrics adds value to both Sound Telecom and our diverse client base. John earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington State University where he studied business administration, international business and economics.