Paper is still mightier than the email . . .

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SPIT IT OUT,

                                                           

ON PAPER!

  

Literally?  Well, not unless it’s a tissue, or maybe a paper towel or napkin.  Figuratively, then?  Hey, you may be bright enough to stay employed after all.  Are you being a wise-guy?  Of course, this is a blog, isn’t it?  So what’s your point? 

     Unless you’re in a high-stress, time-crunch job location like the ER, the battlefield, the deck of an deep sea fishing trawler, an air-traffic control tower, or the floor of the stock exchange, anything that’s important enough for you to say is important enough for you to say in writing

[P.S. If you’re a tree-hugger worried about your green reputation going down the tubes because you use too much paper, stop reading here and have a nice day!] 

     Once you get your basic thoughts down, edit them carefully (sleep on them if possible), then deliver them in writing (or printout), on paper (or occasionally, online via email)! 

     Now, wait a minute, I’m just a landscaper; the only paper I handle’s a time sheet, and my brother says his company makes all decisions by email! Ah, all the more reason to carry a pen and pocket pad.  How many times a day are you interrupted?  How much of where you were, do you remember after a series of interruptions?

     Every minute that you spend taking notes on the boss’s instructions and putting your ideas down on paper is an investment in your self-success, and the success of your business.

     You simply won’t believe this until you do it consistently for 60-90 days.  But that time period will make a believer of you. 

     As for your brother’s email-crazed company, and my note earlier that occasionally online communications work, is not a condemnation of email.  It is a warning flag that when you email important ideas, you are suggesting they are not so important because you’ve presented your thoughts in the mad rush, snap decision making “delete/save/file/reply” environment that emails breed. 

     Even when an important communication is carefully constructed and edited, it can fail because it was zipped off without enough attention to proper subject line wording, or careful thought given to the who’s who of Cc’s and Bcc’s, or just because the use of email can give the impression that the contents are not well thought out and have been shot from the hip. 

     Sometimes being more personal is better.  I hand deliver proposals to clients when possible because I can be there to see their faces and judge responses they may not express in an email reply or even a telephone discussion.  

     You can read and hear words in a response, but when you can’t see the facial expressions, the posture and the attitudes involved, you’ve only got half the answer.  How confident would you be of making a sale the customer agrees to while hand signaling or winking derisively to a co-worker as you’re babbling away to them on their speakerphone.  And emails are even more distant.

     Whether you’re a contractor making a mental “punchlist,” a law enforcement officer reconstructing an accident scene, an engineer struggling with an architect‘s lack of reality, an administrative or salesperson working with other’s deadlines and expectations, or a physician explaining a procedure to a patient, put it in writing! 

     By writing out what you observe, hear, think or propose, or by drawing a diagram to explain yourself you are taking giant steps toward improved communications.  Improved communications win job promotions, bonuses, customers, comeraderie, industry and professional attention, and management (and, yes, even family) support.  halalpiar

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3 comments so far

3 Comments to “Paper is still mightier than the email . . .”

  1. […] Paper is still mightier than the email . . . […]

  2. Judy Vorfeldon 26 Nov 2008 at 12:24 am

    You did it again. Well done, Hal.

  3. […] Credit […]

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