Thursday, September 24, 2009

To Voicemail or Email?

voice mail graphicWe are such an email society these days that it is refreshing to get a voicemail. The sound of a nice, warm human voice can be downright motivational.

I used to get 20 to 30 voicemails a day, and now I only get 3 or 4, if I am lucky. My email load, on the other hand, is huge. Some are quick. Some are wordy. Some are curt. Some are overly polite. But the zigzagging from headline to message and then reply, forward or delete is monotonous and annoying. Some emails are confusing – and you think to yourself, “Why didn’t they either walk into my office and say it straight away or leave me an explanatory voicemail?” A particularly confusing email is one that skips thoughts and is a cryptic progression of unrelated sentences.

I still like email for quick messages or sending long documents and programs. But if you need to express gratitude, offer compliments or the message is complex and even a little sensitive, voicemails can often make you feel that the person is right there.

Strategically, think of what the mission is and then choose the medium. As an alternative to either voicemail or email, in-person still works wonders. Videoconferencing and webcam are second best – and very effective.

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