An Opportunity for Grace: 3 Email Habits that Show Love
The average knowledge worker in the U.S. spends *28% of their work week sending and reading emails. For a 40 hour work week, that's over 10 hours per week. 2 hours per day.
The average person (none of you are average - we are all snowflakes) sends and receives over **120 emails per day. This is a substantial chunk of time spent communicating with other people.
Have you thought about how you can show others love via your email traffic?
Email is still relatively new to us as a society. It is an art of communication that should be cultivated, like speech or writing. While some do well at blessing others through email, others treat email in ways that disrespect others, whether they mean to or not. Let's assume we are all shooting for the former and that we want to show the love of Christ in our email traffic.
Here are 3 ways to show love via email:
1. Respond…at some point. A response justifies the worth of the person who sent the email. Simply not responding is the same as someone speaking to you at a party and you completely ignoring them. A short response is better than no response, as is a late response. (There are three important caveats here: 1) we should not feel compelled to respond to spam or ridiculous emails, 2) we are not perfect and we will sometimes, completely by accident miss an email, and 3) this can be overdone in an email chain both parties keep responding - "Thanks." "You are welcome." "I am glad I'm welcome - thanks for that."...)
2. Be clear. Sending an email or responding to an email with a cryptic hurried mess of words is not helpful. It costs the other person more time. Be clear as to what you want and do this with as few words as you can. This can be challenging but shows respect for the other person's time.
3. Don't fight via email. A fight over email is pathetic and weird, like two cowards throwing rocks at each other on unicycles. If the conversation gets heated, don't send the email. Just pick up the phone and call the other person. If you don't have their phone number, reply to them directly and give them yours. Tone is hard to convey in email; they may not have meant their message the way you took it.
Email is a maturing medium of communication and until it is replaced by something else, we will interact with others often via email - especially in our work. If you aim to show love and respect to other people, make sure to respond, be clear, and avoid hashing out conflict via email.
What do you think? Does email etiquette matter that much? How have you seen email done well or done poorly?
(We would love to hear from you in the comments below)
Source: *McKinsey & Company, **The Radicati Group, Inc.