In 1912, my great grandmother received a
love letter from a gentleman named Oddis.
The love letter read this..."Fall off the roof, fall down
the ceiling, but don't fall in love with another feller."
What makes love letters so romantic? Sure, there is
an intention and a thoughtfulness behind each word.
Even more so, there is time in between the correspondence for the
thought of each word to sink in to the heart of the recipient.
There is time in between each
correspondence for emotion to build.
There is time for the words
to be pondered sincerely.
This emotional build is highly desired in love letters.
It is not as desired with emails.
And this highlights another important
element of effective communication.
Too often, we spend too much of our focus on the message of
the communication and not enough on the method of delivery.
Consider the correspondence feedback loop
in your communication delivery method.
Some methods of communication are more synchronous and
very quick such as in person, phone, and video chat.
Other methods of communication are more asynchronous
and slower such as email, text, and memo.
There is no single best
method of communication.
There are definitely some
meetings that should be emails.
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when you
are determining the best method of communication.
First, consider the emotion. An emotional message
should be delivered in a fast feedback loop.
If you deliver a highly emotional message
through an asynchronous method of delivery,
you will likely have a very
emotional conversation later on.
Low emotional messaging can be delivered in a
slower feedback loop like an email or a text.
Next, consider the
complexity of the message.
How many emails will it take going back and forth to solve a problem
before it is important to alter your method of communication?
A problem that could have taken 10 minutes to solve in an
in-person meeting ended up taking 3-1/2 days through email.
That is entire days more in which the
problem was on your mind and unresolved.
This practice repeated over and over can result in
higher frustration, tension, anxiety, and stress.
All of which could have been alleviated
through different mediums of communication.
Consider if your message will have follow-up
questions, comments, or concerns.
If you have a complex message, try to utilize faster
feedback loops and then if you need documentation
consider sending a follow-up email summarizing
the conversation for your records.
Generally, if communication takes more than 6-8 emails to solve,
then I pick up the phone or physically speak with the person.
I encourage teams to come up with an agreed
upon standard of emails to phone call ratio
to help hold everyone accountable to a less emotional
and more effective method of communication.
Some teams have agreed upon more or less but 6-8
emails is a general agreed upon total email count
before the method of
communication should be altered.
Lastly, consider the person. For some people, a certain
topic might be more emotional, complex, or personal.
Consider the individual and make accommodations
to best meet the person where they are currently.
In this consideration, you might also want to
consider how some methods of communication
could mean different feedback
speed for different people.
For example, if you text me, that is
an incredibly slow feedback loop.
I am a very slow texter. For others on my team, that is
a very fast feedback loop. So, consider the individual.
Too often, we spend too much focus on the message
of our communication and not enough on the method.
So, here's what I want you to do. I want you to
also consider the method of each communication.
Try to alter your method of communication
in consideration of emotion,
complexity, and individuals for
the most effective impact.