Mark Evans–former National Post reporter, current VP at b5media–provides a perfect way for me to launch my blog: he is getting off the e-mail/IM bandwagon. In becoming a “digital communications junkie,” he’s realized the time has come to drop the keyboard and pick up the phone. Relying too heavily, or exclusively, on e-mail is one of the things you hear about at communications conferences and workshops. Picking up the phone is usually considered the antidote to this problem. As Mark says:
Rather than interrupt someone by calling them, we take the easy way out by sending an e-mail or IM. Unless the message involves a simple statement (“I’m leaving work now”) or requires a simple answer (“I’ll be there in seven minutes”), you should talk to someone. Far too often, conversations that require intonation, nuance, diplomacy and subtlety are frustratingly ineffective. Yet we insist on having these digital conversations even though we know many of them are not terribly good or productive.
There’s definitely a lot to be said about calling someone, or, better yet, talking to them face-to-face. We’ve all cheated and fired off an e-mail when a call would have been the better option. Worse still: the e-mails you send to the recipient sitting in the very next cubicle!
The bigger problem, though, may be how the modern office is designed. In the typical cube farm workers sit in their pens and with the little amount of real privacy offered by their fabric walls retreat within the gentle glow of their monitors. Electronic communications easily replace the traditional interpersonal channels. We’ve all been there.