email vs face-to-face conversation greg bustin

Be Careful

July 5th, 2014  | 

Published in Conflict Resolution, Organization Health

Email vs Face-to-Face Conversation

I recently replied to an email when I was frustrated.

Bad idea.

I read the email from my phone in a meeting. Never mind that I should have been focused on the meeting. The email lit me up like a Christmas tree. So I replied with an answer that, while accurate, was not constructive. It gets worse.

I hit “Reply all.”

Shortly after my reply I provided my feedback in a face-to-face conversation with the person I called out in my email. This person, whom we’ll call John, is a friend and trusted colleague, and our conversation was professional and productive.

A few hours later John saw my email. It was out of synch with our face-to-face conversation.

Over the next three days, John and I spent a lot of time repairing our relationship.

The message is clear: Be careful.

Before you text a message or reply to an email, stop and ask: Is the message I’m sending the message the person on the other end is receiving?

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises leaders of some of the world’s most admired companies, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 200 strategic planning sessions, and he’s delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents. His fifth leadership book—How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices—examines 52 of history’s greatest triumphs and tragedies and debuted in April as the #1 new historical reference book on Amazon.


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