Communicate to Engage

When email relationships at work become stressful, it is with good reason.

Experts say that only 7% of in-person communication occurs through the words actually spoken: 55% is from body language, 38% is through tone of voice.

Email falls woefully short because it is one-dimensional.  In spite of the “reply” option, communication is really one-way.  Replies to emails allow editing not discussion, fine-tuning not  feedback.

Nancy communicated with her team by email as a matter of process.  She always wanted feedback and input, and asked for it in every email.  But she seldom received any response.  James was a valued member of her team, known for his reliability and quality of work.  But his emails he often seemed aloof and dispassionate.

One Monday, Nancy had prepared her usual email requesting feedback about an important new project. She really wanted to generate some enthusiasm about the project, so she decided to go see James first.

As she asked his opinion, she received concise, short  answers — as usual.  Then she asked “What would you do to ensure the success of this project?”

She was amazed at his response.  His face lit up, and he suggested a kick-off strategy for the project – complete with an idea to having a contest to name the project.

Suddenly Nancy saw a whole new dimension to the project — internal promotion!  And she had never seen that level of enthusiasm fro James before.    

This week, before you send out a group email that’s business as usual, go out of your way to get feedback from another person – in person or by phone. That personal contact will allow you to hear — and possibly see — responses that would be lost by using email.

 When you take the time to engage, it could open new dimensions in your success.