Email miscommunication

Are we getting lazy with our emails? Do we treat the electronic communication with a cavalier attitude which we would never consider employing with other media? For example:

  • how many emails have you received where the sender didn’t fully explain the point or question, disappointingly leaving you to fill in the blanks or piece together the meaning of the message?
  • how often do you get an email which is simply forwarded with ‘FYI’?

We seem to consider this behaviour socially acceptable – but would we think it reasonable to send a letter which said:

“Please find attached several letters between other people.  One of them has asked a question based on the details sprinkled amongst their correspondence.  I don’t know the answer. Would you read all of the pages, pick out the details, and work out the answer. I’m too busy or important to summarise for you.”

Perhaps not.

This might be an extreme example, but I suspect that most people are guilty of forwarding email without adequate explanation.

So tomorrow try a step change in email communication: help the recipient understand the message.  You might even be surprised at the results.