Thursday, October 07, 2004

Protocol: Communication + Email

Sometime it is difficult to communicate everything through email. It is necessary to recognize those situations and change the medium of communication to address the problem effectively.

There are times when a particular problem or requirement cannot be communicated clearly through an email. It is good to agree upon [or decide for yourself] the limit of email exchanges you will have before you decide to change the medium of communication to phone or a face to face conversation.

How do you recognize that there is a communication problem?
I have set of limit of 3 email exchanges. If a team or a set of individuals are not able to come to an agreement using 3 email exchanges, then there is a communication problem and it needs to be addressed. I have found that in most cases after 3 email exchanges, communication is very ineffective. If the email exchange is with an individual, normally I call the person to discuss the problem.

If the communication is about people issues, it is best to do it through phone or face to face conversations. Discussing people related issues in an email is not a good idea. Such messages may be interpreted out of context and may decrease trust among teams.

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