What Could Be Better Than E-mail?

By: Steve Kaye
Business Week reports that "E-mail Is So Five Minutes Ago" in an article that describes new tools that are replacing E-mail (November 28, 2005, page 111).

But they missed one powerful tool.

First, let’s accept that E-mail and similar E-tools are useful for sending news, reports, and general purpose information to large groups of people. Of course, E-mail works only if people send carefully thought out, grammatically correct messages to those who need to know. Poorly written nonsense sent to the entire universe causes huge problems and wastes billions.

So what is better than E-mail?What guarantees effective communication?What always lets you accomplish more?The answer is (drum roll, please) . . . .

Talking to people.

Here’s why.

1) You gain a high return on your investment.

That is, you gain better information by talking with people. Sometimes you even gain the correct information.

Often the way something is said is more important than what is said. The tone of voice, facial expressions, vocal energy, gestures, rate of speaking, and body language tell more than any text message.

In some conversations, the words (or text) simply serve as a carrier for the real message. Effective leaders know how to listen beyond the words to this message and then respond to it. They also know how to seek out hidden messages that lurk in the shadows of the conversation.

2) You become a human being.

Human beings are eligible for respect, courtesy, and dignity.

Things, on the other hand, are not.

A relationship built upon an impersonal communication process, such as E-mail, risks being treated like a thing. That is, it can be ignored, discarded, or misused.

When you participate in a conversation your presence makes a powerful statement about being human. It also lets you validate the other person as being human. This handshake of mutual respect builds the lasting, valuable relationships that make leaders effective.

3) You give a priceless gift.

Each of us has a basic need to feel connected with society. This need is so powerful, that it sustains life. (In fact, studies have shown that being disconnected from society destroys life.

)All effective leadership strategies encourage talking to the people in your organization. It puts a face on your words. And by talking to people, you connect them together within the society of your organization.

4) You receive something in return.

If you listen carefully, people will tell you more than you expected to hear. They will answer your questions and then answer questions that had not thought to ask. They will share wisdom, ideas, and news. They will make you think. All of this helps you a become a more effective leader.

5) It's free.

You can talk to people without having to buy a gadget or set up a network. You can talk without having to learn a new operating system or memorize a cryptic language. All you have to do is talk to them.

So why did I write this article?Because we need to spend more time talking to each other.

Our fast paced, high tech, low touch society has become a harsher, meaner society. I think we're experiencing an epidemic of rudeness that will cripple our effectiveness if it continues.

How?First, bad relationships ruin business.

For example, poor teamwork reduces profitability. Bad bosses cause employee turnover. Upset customers take business to your competitors.

Second, bad relationships cause stress and emotional pain. People feel angry, tense, or afraid. As a result, they make bad decisions that worsen their relationships.

And so, we need to make talking to people a major priority.

For example, instead of sending E-mail to your colleague, walk down the hall and talk.

Instead of sending an E-greeting to your relatives, phone them.

Instead of text messaging your friendArticle Search, get together for lunch.

You will find that talking to people helps improve both your business and the quality of your life.

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