We all use email daily.  Even though we have seen several new ways to communicate in recent years, it is still a staple of our lives.  That is why spam is so common. It is a way to reach almost everyone.  Of course, it also means we have more messages we delete than we read.  Nevertheless, we can look at email as a positive.  It provides us a needed option for communication online.

Use Email As It Is Intended

The headaches from email come as much from the misuse of it (or more so) as proper usage.  The first point to remember is that this is a tool for conversations.  It is not intended to do instant response communication.  These improper uses of email are at least partly responsible for tools like MS Teams and Slack.  There is a use for quick response, conversational solutions.  Just remember that email is not that tool.  This focus is the reason email is a positive utility for business and even our lives.

A Measured Response

The way to use email is much closer to traditional “snail mail” than anything else electronic.  It used to take days or weeks to have a back-and-forth discussion via mail.  There was time at each stop to thoroughly consider the message and to craft a response.  Think of any great examples of letters, and you will not see a reply like “k” or a simple emoji.

In reality, email provides the best tool for an actual conversation.  It is better than a face-to-face discussion in many cases.  We can focus on what the other person is saying and then craft a response rather than the typical “listening,” where most of our focus is on a reply.  Some people can genuinely listen and then respond.  However, that is not often the case in my experience.

A Paper Trail

In the business world, and sometimes personal discussions, email gives us a needed record of what has been said.  This benefit is critical in helping us avoid things that “fall through the cracks” while also ensuring we fully respond.  Even better, we can review how we reached a decision or even what the decision was.  It will not take long in your career before you find out how valuable this is.

Episode Challenge: Are you using email as it is intended?

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Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a longtime student of technology as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is a founder and principle of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although a few have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax.

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