When Not to Use Email

While email, text and IM are very efficient due to their asynchronous nature, they are regularly abused. Discussions that should occur in person or by phone are held over email or by text message.

But, how do you know when it’s better to email/text/IM or meet via voice? It’s often difficult.

For most of us, we default to text communication methods. To keep things simple, I have a mental checklist to know when to go to voice or in-person:

  • Are you expecting a follow-up debate or in-depth discussion?
  • Can your written message be easily misinterpreted or is potentially insulting to the other party?
  • Does your message need more than three sentences? (exception here is a long email that’s used to explain a complex idea.)
  • Are you angry or otherwise in an emotional state?

If the answer is YES or MAYBE to any of the above, go to voice or in-person if possible.

Michael Girdley