Communications by Email

· by Herb Dew

Herb is the CEO of HTI. He founded HTI in 1999 along with John Knight and David Sewell, and remains heavily involved in the organization today.
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I was talking with an HTI employee today and we discussed the pros and cons of communicating via email. I display my age a bit in this post but early in my career we had no email. Heck for that matter voicemails were not used all that much.

But I’ll tell you what, there were far less “misunderstandings” caused by a lack of personal contact.

I try to teach my employees at HTI that one should always first try to communicate tough information in person. Emails are easily misconstrued. I can’t begin to describe the amount of times I’ve seen conflict arise from a misread/miswritten email that festered before it was resolved. Or never resolved. Email is a valuable tool we have now at our fingertips. But its a POOR tool for arguing a point or communicating sensitive or tough information.

I try to always wait when sending an email that I think might be taken poorly. Its not unusual for me to ask a co-worker to read an email I might send and give me their opinion as to how they would read it. There have been many times the person said “I would call the person rather than send it”.

In this fast moving environment of communication its still so important to not lose sight of “personal touch”. Companies all around the upstate face this in their offices as well. How to use this new age of technology while keeping the sense of personal interaction gets to be harder and harder. But in the end, sitting face to face with someone and working through an issue is far more likely to create a “win-win” than communication via email.

Herb Dew