Some people hate email.
I love it.
It’s one of the best possible means of communication invented, as far as I’m concerned. And my reasons are very, very simple.
It lets me think.
In fact, in many ways, it forces me to think. Constructing a message, or constructing a reply, requires that I put my thoughts in order and think about my words. It also allows me to take the time to do exactly that. Rather than a quick vague statement easily misconstrued because I wasn’t clear, I can choose words appropriate to the situation that are clearer, and more likely to be understood.
I can also change my mind.
It’s not at all uncommon, once I’ve begun drafting a message or reply, to change what I’m saying or how I’m saying it. Writing brings clarity, clarity brings understanding, and understanding brings perspective — perspective that once developed helps improve the writing, bring the entire exercise full circle.
I can take my time.
While I’ve been working on my extemporaneous speaking ability (that’s one of the reasons last years Ask Leo! videos exist), I still feel ill at ease and clumsy when it comes to having a spirited discussion about a serious or important topic. I see myself trip over my own words, or say something that’s taken as other than what I intended too many times. Taking the time to think things through, however, as a part of the act of writing, allows me to be more precise, and in my opinion, effective.
I can schedule my time.
Email is almost never so urgent that it needs an instant reply. There are other forms of communication that are more appropriate if that’s a requirement. What that means is that email need never be an interruption, it’s always a choice. I can focus on what I need to focus on, and return to email at a time and for a duration of my choosing. Almost all other forms of communication are, effectively, an interruption or an interruption attempt of some sort.
That’s not to say that I never speak to people. Email isn’t the solution for every situation. Texting, instant messaging, in-person conversations, even — gasp! — picking up the phone, are all valid and important ways to communicate. They’re just not my best.
Given my ‘druthers, I’m happiest in email.
The people that hate it? I think they fall into one of two camps:
- To overwhelmed to stay on top of it.
- To overwhelmed to put in the thought.
I get that, I really do. But both are fixable, in my opinion. I regularly bounce off of inbox-zero without much difficulty (and I get a lot of email). And clearly I consider the investment of time to be well worth the improved communication results.
But that’s just my perception. What am I missing?