E-mail's no hotshot communicator

I read your editorial, Did you get my e-mail? (CW March 15, p18) with interest. People resort to e-mail far too quickly and even three e-mails about an issue are too many. E-mail is useful for broadcasting non-controversial messages to a large audience and for publishing things that people can read in their own time. It should be avoided as a forum for raising an issue, problem, question or concern; face-to-face or phone calls are better with e-mail to follow up on points raised during the meeting or phone call.

The use of language in e-mails is important. Too few people - particularly in the IT industry - have had the opportunity to learn and practice professional writing. With some e-mail messages the writing is misinterpreted or fails to get the message across quickly and easily They can be difficult to understand, long-winded or just confusing and miss out on the nuances of a face-to-face meeting - body language, tone of voice, facial expression - to get the message across. A telephone call at least allows you to hear the person's reaction to your suggestions.

Practically speaking, most people type more slowly than they speak and if e-mail is used as a dialogue with the gaps between read and reply, what could have been addressed in a two-minute telephone conversation takes hours or days to resolve.

Lastly, if you're feeling angry about something, do not resort to e-mail; they are too easily copied and forwarded to people. Best to write it, save it as draft and come back the next day to reread it before deciding what to do.

CL, South Melbourne
(Name and address supplied)

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