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Just Send Them an Email

What to improve communication?

“Just send them an email.” We can’t count how many times we’ve heard how sending an email will magically solve a problem. Sometimes it does. Most of the time it does not. Why? Because simply sending an email is not the same thing as communication.

We think of communication this way. Sending a message is only the starting point. Was the message received? Was it understood in the manner in which we intended? What response or action do we expect? How soon do we expect it? These often unspoken questions set our expectations, and often determine whether we view the communication as effective or not.

Let’s take the guesswork out of it, and as a first step pick the right communication tool for the job. Meeting face to face is often the best way to connect, especially for sensitive or emotionally charged exchanges. But alas, this option is not always available for a host of reasons. You know the other tools-video, audio, pictures, text and the like. The key is to pick the best tool for that particular job.

We think of the best tool as one that does the job with enough clarity for the least effort. The key is to use the best tool for the recipient, not the sender. For example, my young adult children use Snapchat for almost everything. While I prefer texting, I know that if I want to hear back from them soon, Snapchat it is, even if I snap “check your text messages please.” The point is to know your audience, meet them with a tool that gets the job done, and your communication will improve. If all else fails, just send them an email!

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