Less time does not promote deeper thought

mailboxes

[T]he more urgently technology incentivizes us to respond to a proposition, the more we rely on our own heuristics. Less time does not promote deeper thought.

Today, when you are compelled to comment right away, ask yourself, “How would I respond to this differently if I had to invest the time and effort to get an envelope and a stamp?”

via James Shelley – photo credit: Daria Nepriakhina

A world without e-mail

His plan was to show his coworkers just how dependent they really were on e-mail, emphasizing how many times a day they were compelled to check it, and proving that it was no longer a productivity tool, but a procrastinator’s best friend.  One Man’s Vision of a Social Workplace.

Why e-mail is ineffective in conveying ideas

In a world where businesses and friends often depend upon e-mail to communicate, scholars want to know if electronic communications convey ideas clearly.

The answer, the professors conclude, is sometimes “no.” Though e-mail is a powerful and convenient medium, researchers have identified three major problems.

  1. E-mail lacks cues like facial expression and tone of voice. That makes it difficult for recipients to decode meaning well;
  2. The prospect of instantaneous communication creates an urgency that pressures e-mailers to think and write quickly, which can lead to carelessness; and
  3. The inability to develop personal rapport over e-mail makes relationships fragile in the face of conflict.

via CSM.

Collaboration: email vs. wiki

And a visual that is worth a thousand words.

email vs wiki

See also: Wikis in Plain English

Email is about the reader

    • Email is about the reader, not the writer. Don’t think about what you have to say. Think about what the reader needs to hear. There’s nothing more tedious than an email that starts out with 200 words of self-justification when all it needs is a single sentence containing a question.
    • Email exists to solve problems, not create them. (…)
    • The headline is the email. The subject line should be clear, factual and specific. It should also encourage the reader to open and read the email. (…)
    • Fewer words, greater understanding. (…) With email, shorter is better. Also short words are best.
    • Think before you forward.
    • Respect privacy in group emails. [A] round-robin email addressed to hundreds of people where all their addresses were included (…) is a gross breach of privacy.
    • Be succinct. Imagine your email was a telegram and that you were paying by the word.
    • Highlight actions and key points.
    • Re-read your emails before you send them. Out loud. Rewrite it if you can make it shorter. (Bad Language)

      The last word on e-mails

      You’ve just finished composing an e-mail to a potential client you’ve talked with a few times before. Now for the tricky part: your sign-off. Should you use “Sincerely,” “Kind regards” or “Cheers”? How do you sound friendly without coming across as unprofessional?

      This article analyzes a few sign-offs. Here’s what it says about my favorite:

      The salutation: “Cheers”
      Bates: Only use this sign-off for friends and business colleagues you might meet for coffee.
      Kerr: You can use this with someone you know well, but if you’re trying to make a business impression, this is not a great way to say goodbye when you’re first doing business with someone. Save it for after having established a bond.

      Related:

      To email or not to email: Michael Dell

      Top 10 when NOT to email

      You are your inbox

      Communication tools map

      communicationtoolsmap.jpg

      See full discussion at How to Save the World.

      Related:

      Current communication ecosystem

      Wireless addiction