Maybe I’m a bit old fashioned but I love a good conversation! I’m thinking of starting a personal campaign to introduce the skill into the office.

If you are in an office now, take a look around you. Many of your colleagues will be tapping away furiously at their keyboards and in the time it takes you to read this article I bet you will hear someone call across the office ‘I’ve just sent you an email…….’

We have all become accustomed to chucking out dozens of emails each day, cc’ing anyone who may have even the remotest interest and then bragging about the number of emails stacked up in our inboxes.

Catch a train at any time of day and you will hear the tappers working away like mad – you can even tell the mood or sentiment of the message by the vigour with which the keys are struck – ‘that will teach the so-and-so not to mess with me’ as the send button is dealt a hammer like blow!

We are email addicts! So, fancy a change?

Next time you are thinking of emailing a colleague in the same office – pick up the phone or better still get off your butt and go and see them. It will do you good and here’s why:-

When we ask a question in an email we get the answer – nothing more, nothing less. Often it prompts a follow up question because the response isn’t quite what we expected or it’s opened up another point. ‘No problem – a quick email to clarify and we’ll be done here……………..!’

Ask the question face to face or over the phone and you get the chance to clarify, ask follow up questions and get a sense for the sentiment, honesty and conviction of the person’s response.

In a conversation people will usually volunteer more information. This will give you more in depth knowledge about the subject or draw your attention to other related issues, projects or considerations.  All useful stuff, a bonus even, because now you are even better informed.

Ever sat there waiting for a response to an email? How long do you wait – an hour, a day, a year? Emails can be ignored, phone calls less so and personal visits even less so again.

The approach also does wonders for building relationships and improving your visibility in the organisation. I am sure many of us correspond regularly via email with people we would not recognise in the office canteen! Wouldn’t it be good to get to know them?

Get off your butt! Go on! Try it!

August 16, 2012 at 8:50 pm
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