E-mail is a Form of Non-verbal Communication

Sometimes we forget that the way we send e-mail is a form of nonverbal communication. For example, if you take a long time to respond to someone’s e-mail your delay is way of sending a message about the importance of the person. I know I am guilty of taking a long time to return e-mails to friends when I am on the road speaking. Somehow, I rationalize that my friends will love me even though I take forever to respond to them. Isn't funny how we treat those who love us the most?

We also need to be aware that E-mails were not designed to send emotional messages. The internet was designed to send information, not emotions. It is so tempting at work to blast off a message via e-mail, without dealing with that messy human contact. But, if you’re in your office and you have a message laced with intense feeling to send to someone, go talk to them!! If over 80 percent of the meaning of the message is sent through nonverbal communication your simple e-mail that has no nonverbal communication will often be misinterpreted.

Finally, we sometimes blast off an email so we can say to ourselves, "That's taken care of." In truth, it may not be. Because you do not see the person get your message, understand it and respond to emotionally you really do not know if it taken care of. Follow up, at least occasionally with a phone call, a stop in the hallway or an office visit to make sure the receiver, really, "got" the message.