Want to waste a lot of time? Just use email, IM and text.
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Networking
I was listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR the other day, and they were talking about an interesting study they did on how people communicate with each other in the workplace – looking for the most effective means of communication. Turns out all this texting, IM’ing and emailing back and forth does nothing for improving effectiveness. Research shows that it takes up to nine times longer to accomplish a simple conversation using electronic means than if two people had simply spoken (on the phone or in person). And then, if you add the idea of a complex conversation into the mix, it takes exponentially longer, and there’s no guarantee that you accomplished the result you were looking for.
While this is probably no big surprise to anyone, what is a big surprise is how many people ignore the idea and constantly use texting, emailing and IM’ing for very important and detailed conversations.
You’ve heard it said plenty of times that more than 80% of communication is non-verbal (body language, tone, inflection), yet when you move to electronic means for communicating, you lose all of that. And the interpretation in which you carefully crafted your email may come out all wrong on the other end.
Here’s a test.
Say these words in a voice of joking around: “Where have you been? You’re so late!”
Say these words in a voice of anger: “Where have you been? You’re so late!”
The first way makes you think someone was a little worried but it was no big deal. The second way gets you thinking that you may want to pack up your personal belongings because today may be your last day.
Here’s the underlying problem. It’s about trust. Most people WRITE emails with a tone of positive intent. Yet, without a truly strong, trusted relationship, most people READ emails with a tone of negative intent. If that idea doesn’t make you want to pick up the phone and have a conversation, what will?
But don’t worry. You don’t need to change. Because fortunately nobody misinterprets your emails. Or do they?