HR Forum

Stopping the email war

Question: My employees are very fond of using emails in their communication with one another. I’m guessing being in the IT business has a lot to do with this habit.

But the trouble is, this habit is increasingly becoming more pronounced as it seems like almost everyone is limiting themselves to this sort of communication as compared to a face-to-face one.

Even when one could just turn around to talk to his neighbour, which would have been faster and more personal, emails are being used to communicate instead.

People here are not on the best cordial terms either, and I am not sure whether it is this email communication style that is causing this. Please help me understand this better.

Answer: It is a fact that a person who indulges in too much email communication can forget the importance of human qualities of warmth and empathy. They lose their skills to observe, interact and engage with people naturally, which can only happen in interpersonal communication.

In email communication, none of these skills are required except, perhaps, good writing literacy; even then this is not expected if the person is not strong in the language he is communicating in.

Consequently, he becomes emotionless and indifferent which does not augur well in building close relationship with people.

The other downside with email communication is that there is a high risk of miscommunication because not many have gone through proper training on how to write emails. So, many write without realising that their words can hurt, and even anger their recipients.

Proper emailing involves manners and ethics. For instance, mentioning a person’s name first before the message; being careful not to copy to (or cc) too many people (as it can imply that the sender is playing safe) or using too many capital letters (as it can imply that the sender is rude and angry, etc).

In conclusion, it pays to educate your people on the right way to communicate via email. More importantly, encourage them to use face-to-face communication more often.

Powerful Questions:

What did you learn from the current scenario?

What do you want to see happening?

What does it tell that you should be doing?

What are among the first few things you need to work on now?

Article by Dr Michael Heah, an ICF Master Certified Coach with