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Chapter 22. Knowing Your Communication M... > E-mail Communication—A Brave New Wor... - Pg. 237

Knowing Your Communication Media 237 Written communication is also important if there is some legal or other need to have a formal record or documentation of the communication between you and the other person. For example, if you want to reprimand an employee, then you would do so face-to-face, but you would also want to document the conversation on paper. When is it not so useful? As the primary method to solve a complex problem, it is lacking--too slow, too formal. As a means to build better relationships, it's weak. And of course, if there is a need to solve issues right away, it takes too long. E-mail Communication--A Brave New World Now we get to the most interesting of communication media--e-mail, or communication on the Internet or via computer. Insider Secrets E-mail and voice mail are two newer communication methods that are both blessings and curses. Many people are finding that these technologies increase the volume of communication so it actually takes longer to get back to people and takes up more time. It's the price of technology, I suppose. Just because you can use them, doesn't mean you should. We're going to spend the rest of the chapter on this one, for one simple reason. Most of us under- stand letters. We understand direct conversations and phone conversations. We've grown up with them. But few of us have grown up with e-mail, so we don't understand it as well. And we need to. E-mail requires a different way of communicating; let's start off with how it's different. · E-mail is fast.It gets delivered fast, it gets written fast, and it gets read fast. We treat it like we treat either letter writing or talking, but it's neither of those. E-mail feels like writing a letter be- cause both letter writing and e-mail writing usually involve entry on a keyboard. It feels like talking because it's so fast. · E-mail feels interactive.It appears to us that we are having a conversation, but we aren't, really. In a direct conversation we can see each other, or if it's on the phone, we can gauge a person's emotional state by his or her tone of voice. While e-mail feels like a real conversation, it lacks those features. It's a really poor way to communicate emotion accurately. This Won't Work!