Roadrunner E-mail has become the medium of choice today for communications within the business world. It is not unusual for someone in business to receive one hundred or more emails a day. Just look at all of the Blackberry devices you see around and you know that people are depending more and more on email as a way of communicating. It used to be when you left the office the only communications avenue you were giving up was your phone, so along comes cellular phones to allow you to take your phone with you. Now when you leave your office you are also leaving your e-mail, so Blackberry type devises have come along to allow you to take your e-mail with you. I am just as dependent as the next person on e-mail and I also carry around a Blackberry to keep up with my e-mails.
I would offer one note of caution however. I have noticed more and more people using e-mail to replace face to face conversations or conversations over the phone. Be sure that e-mail is the proper medium for the communications you are having. When difficult matters need to be discussed do not take the easy way out and put it in an e-mail. I have seen relative minor issues turn into heated e-mail arguments, when the issue could have been resolved much more civilly with a conversation. One extreme example I have of this concerned some coworkers that worked for me at a previous business I was involved in. These two individuals worked right down the hall from each other and very easily could have walked to the other’s office to have a face to face conversation. Instead of doing this they decided to try and reconcile an issue through e-mail. It started innocuous enough, but before long had turned into a heated argument that they decided to copy me in on. I had to bring them together in my office to calm things down and force them to talk the issue out face to face. It was resolved in about a half an hour.
The problem with using e-mail to try and resolve an issue or dispute is twofold. One, you cannot convey emotion very well in an e-mail. The person you are sending the e-mail to my read into the e-mail an emotion that you never intended. The second problem is even more prevalent. People may say things in an e-mail that they would never say if they were face to face with that person. It amazes me how nasty I have seen otherwise professional people get in e-mail conversations. It reminds me of how otherwise nice people can get so mad at other people when they are driving. The problem with getting mad in an e-mail is that the other person does know what you said, and it is in writing, so it does not go away.
Roadrunner E-mail can be very useful for many items that need to be communicated. I depend on it all the time to keep people informed and to be keep informed. I do however; recommend to the people that I work with to avoid e-mail for trying to work out potentially emotional issues. You may think you can avoid an uncomfortable situation by using e-mail, but it usually makes it even more uncomfortable.