Email is just a medium of communication. But I wish it would think for us at times like this one:
I received an email a couple of weeks ago from someone inviting me to offer a business writing class to members of her well-known organization. She asked me to respond by email or phone, and she included her cell phone number.
Because I was going out of town, I replied quickly by email, telling her I would be happy to lead a class. I wrote, in part:
"Next Thursday, June 19, I am available all day. Shall we talk on the phone then? Or would you prefer to communicate by email?"
She responded by email:
"I think it would be easier to talk over the phone. I am available June 19 between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Let me know if there is a time that works better for you. I look forward to speaking with you then."
Can you tell what went wrong from this exchange? Reread our messages and see if you can recognize a problem.
It has to do with assigning responsibility.
Here’s what happened: Neither of us called the other. I believed she would phone me, and since I was in the office all day, I didn’t pay attention to the time. She thought I would call her, so at almost 1 p.m. on Thursday, she emailed to reschedule our phone call.
We connected today by phone–and got a good laugh about how our email communication went awry. Happily, she still wants me to offer a class for her group. The topic? Efficient email.