Tell me if this sounds familiar:
Someone wants to do X, but you know that X is a boneheaded thing to do. You quickly email them saying they should do X because of Y. It’s quite straightforward, you think, and that should be the end of it.
Only it isn’t, because they email back CC’d to a colleague or two, saying, no, we’ll do X because Y isn’t relevant, and besides, Z. So there.
So you email back, adding some supporters of your own to the CC list. Maybe a manager or technical lead person or two. You explain even more patiently that no, Y is relevent because of A, B and C. Z isn’t as important as they think.
And they respond, CC’d to World+Dog, citing precedent from some other time they did X because of Z, and that worked out fine. Also, they have n years experience at this stuff, so they know what they’re doing. Why are you being such a pain?
And so on.
Email sucks for this because it’s waaay too easy to forget yourself and write things you’d never say in person.
A room with 5 people in it is a reasonable gathering. A room with 10 people in it is a significant meeting. More than that is a mini-conference.
Count how many people are in your To: and CC: fields. Now imagine standing in front of them in a room, reading what’s in your email.
Still want to hit send?
Pick up the phone
IT people suck at picking up the phone.
Maybe it’s something about being technology people who like dealing with computers all day. Maybe they’re statistically more likely to be reclusive types who don’t like personal interaction. Or maybe they just spend so much time with technology they forget what it’s for.
Or maybe it’s people in general, and not just techno-geeks. Managers with their Crack BlackBerrys, thumbing away on the plane. Gotta be on top of every little detail!
See that phone? Pick it up. Dial the number of the person you’ve had an email back-and-forth with. Chat to them for five minutes.
Not only will you have formed a more human connection, you might just have solved the problem a hell of a lot faster.
No phone zone?
What do you think? Am I old fashioned for believing in phonecalls? Or should we all spend more time learning copywriting skills?