Email provides a written record…

I get a lot of questions about my use of email.  People ask why I’ll answer email before I’ll return a call.  Folks ask why I never delete my email.  I have friends who think it’s interesting that my voicemail directs them to the internet to get in touch with me.   I’ve been told email is impersonal, no one has the kind of time for email the way I do, I send too much email etc.  But after today, I am FIRMLY convinced that I will not be likely to go back to phone and face to face communication.  You see, email provides a written record.

A while ago, I was trying to develop a rapport with a new colleague.  That is something that is best done in person, most of the time.   We had a few very amicable conversations and I thought things were off to a good start.  We discussed my plans for an event and I had her support (I thought).  So when the day for the actual event arrived I proceeded as planned.  Then I was totally shocked to be told that the colleague emphatically disavowed any knowledge of the plan and was not in agreement with it. 

For the first time I – the email before I speak queen – had relied on an in person conversation and I had absolutely no proof that the conversation had even taken place.  So of course I was “wrong” and had nothing to back me up.  Very unusual for me…but I take it as a learning experience.  It will never happen again. 

So now you know why I’ll send you an email about something I’ve spoken to you about or talk to you about something I’ve sent via email.  Email provides a written record…of many things.  I can track the conversation, your receipt of information, and several other things.  I wanted to share this with you as school begins so that you can get into the email groove.  You might just need it this year. 

While we are on the topic of email, I thought I would share some information from a post on a tech blog about email etiquette.  The post is called 5 email habits that waste time and cause problems.  When you have a chance you might want to check out the original article.  Lots of folks left comments with some additional tips, hints and scenarios… Here’s what the original post  said:

  • Vague or non-existent subject line – This makes it hard for the recipient to know what you’re asking about.  If (like me) they can open their email and find anywhere from 5-15 new messages – they are going to open the ones they know are most important first.  People judge what’s important from the subject line…
  • Changing the topic without changing the subject – If I send you an email about a lesson plan idea and you respond with an issue that you are facing in your classroom – without changing the subject – how will I know that I need to make my way to your classroom as soon as I can without opening the email?  If I think you are responding to the lesson plan idea, I might not open the email until I’m working on the lesson plan in question!
  • Including more than one issue in an email – especially if the issues are very different, you might want to send them separately so that nothing gets overlooked when you the person replies.
  • Sending before thinking – You can’t take email back (even though some people think Outlook can…)  Once it’s out there it’s out there.  Make sure you’ve read it once or twice for errors.  If there’s emotion involved you might want to have someone else read it too…
  • Replying to All – The email you’ve been sent might have gone to a dozen people.  When you “reply to all” your answer will go to that same group.  Does everyone need your reply? 

Of course if you have questions about email feel free to ask.  Or better yet…send me an email.  😉

3 thoughts on “Email provides a written record…

  1. I recently saw a story on 20/20 (or some such cast) about how email is taking up too much of work time at our jobs: It is distracting; we’re using it too much; we’re addicted.

    The reporter failed to mention usefulness of this technology. Email is a treat if we use it responsibility, and manage a set time for it, rather than allow it to dictate our lives. And as you state, its a great way to track and keep record of all the facts. I know I have thanked my lucky stars for an email records in the past.

  2. Point well taken. Everyone has bad days, bad memories or bad attitudes. For the over 40 crowd, written documentation can be a real life saver. It helps to remind everyone of what was said, and to what they agreed. Your pain was heard… loud and clear. I am convinced that it won’t “pop up” in the future again. We love ‘ya!

  3. Finally, I’m able to provide a comment. Computers can be so difficult, but once you figure it out, it’s simple!

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