The hidden weight of email

Here’s something to think about:

Email is a system built to pass the burden of response onto others.

I send you an email. I expect a response. No response might mean (to me, the sender) that you don’t care about me, you’re lazy, you’re overworked and not doing anything to change that, that I’m a low priority, etc.

Of course, no reply or a delayed reply often means simply “I’ll get to it later” because of, you know, priorities and being pulled in ten directions at once and stuff like that.

And this is of course why employees (at some companies with the wrong mindset) that respond to emails in the middle of the night are somehow elevated and seen as more of a ‘team player’ than those that can organize their days to respond at certain times. (More on this issue in a future post.)

Let’s spin this problem with email and how you might be a superstar as a result:

If the hidden weight of email communication is that burden of response is on the receiver, you have a chance to make customer interactions far more impactful, just by explaining your intentions.

“Hi Shannon – My goal this month is to try to not burden people like you with unnecessary emails and not interrupt their work flow during the day. I have a few (new wines, new proposals, ideas, thoughts, etc.) that I’d love to discuss with you but can we do it in person so I’m not just jamming your inbox?”

Suddenly, what’s commonly seen as the most efficient communication medium (email) is now phrased as the most burdensome, opening up the opportunity for what we really want: a face to face meeting.