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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

EMAIL: If There's Conflict, Pick Up The Phone


What am I talking about, you ask? Why, I'm talking about keeping you out of trouble.

Specifically, I'm talking about email conversations that start getting out of hand. We've all experienced them. Sometimes, it's merely an email that goes back and forth between parties more than 2 or 3 times. That's a waste of time that a phone call can probably take care of quickly.

More importantly, though, I'm talking about disagreements or tensions being shared over email. You know, email is a great tool and most of us wouldn't want to go back to the early 90s when emails were some weird thing and email addresses were 45 characters long. Most of the time it's quick and easy and efficient. However, email has a difficult (if not almost impossible) time expressing proper inflection or emotion which are much more apparent in telephone or face-to-face conversations.

Because of email's "sterility" so to speak, innocent emails can sometimes erupt into full conflicts because people misread what is being written by the other party. One of the parties makes a bad joke or a sarcastic remark and the other party takes it wrong...then, boom! Conflict. Even telephone conversations, which I'm advocating over email in tense situations, have their limitations that only face-to-face conversations can overcome (hopefully) because phone calls can't show body language and facial expressions.

Now, I know that email provides a form of insulation that can be very comforting at times. People who want to avoid conflict can use email instead of getting in someone's face or having to step out of their comfort zone to get stuff done. This insulation can actually help make things worse.

My advice to you, if you're in an email conversation that starts going south, is to stop the madness, pick up the phone and get things sorted out before they blow up in your face.

You'll be glad you did.


  1. I think I'm going to share this one with my coworkers.

  2. Please. Share as much as you'd like of any of my posts.


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