I was in a meeting for a little more than an hour today. During that time, I received almost 40 emails. Just looking at the little number badge on my phone’s screen made me feel stressed. Apparently I’m not alone.
Depending on what statistics you review, the average person gets 100 to 150 emails a day. This equates to about 13 hours a week processing emails, according to my reading on the topic.
I achieved inbox zero once last week. I rejoiced and begged people not to message me. My bliss lasted less than five minutes.
Email is a necessary communication method, but it isn’t always the best tool.
Email is a lean form of communication in that it allows for one-way communication without nonverbal cues. There are many times when a telephone call or a face-to-face exchange are more effective because of their richer communication qualities.
Email is a good tool for providing short information, data or direction that doesn’t require a response or to ensure there is a record of your communication.
Email is a poor tool for delivering bad news, providing lengthy information, or soliciting opinions (especially from a group) that require feedback or extended conversations. Also, remember that anything included in an email is public, so don’t put confidential or private information in them that you wouldn’t want read aloud in court.
Perhaps the best email advice I read is this: If you can’t write it in five sentences or less, pick up the phone or meet the person face-to-face.
Let’s Talk Nerdy!
What’s the best advice you’ve received about whether to communicate via email vs. another medium? Which communication method do you prefer?