Workplace Communication Training

Dealing with Email "Terrorists"

"The internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom."
- Jon Stewart

Okay, I'm exaggerating on the terrorist part, but sometimes email communication in the workplace does feel like high school...the worst part of high school. Certain email habits can steal anybody's "happy" at work, and in some circumstances it may take minor miracles to stop email torture. There are plenty of communication breakdowns at work without adding e-mail malfunctions.

So, when we think about workplace communication training, addressing email issues has to be included! Some of the most annoying email habits are tied to personality styles. Some are just tied to uninformed and ineffective survival strategies that can be corrected with workplace communication training.

There are several culprits and perpetrators (and you may be among them). Let's start with The Stingy Withholder:

This person really needs communication training. He doesn't answer email, makes a point of telling everyone he hates email, and maybe doesn't even open it unless he's threatened by upper management. Good luck with getting a response from him via email.

There is a special breed of the Stingy Withholder worth considering here, though. If this person happens to be your boss, you must use the communication channels that she prefers, not the one you prefer. Case in point:

Dan, one of my client's employees, complained to me about being overlooked for promotion. When I asked my client about the situation, she said, "He doesn't communicate well. I never know what he is doing. He needs serious communication training. (So ironic.)"

The next time I saw Dan, we discussed his communication strategies. He vehemently defended himself, "This is totally unfair. I send her email updates every single day!"

Too bad she never read them. In fact, she had her assistant doing all the reading for her. The assistant didn't think the updates were critical information, so they weren't passed along. Oops. This is a perfect example of the "illusion that communication has occurred" that should be one of the primary focuses of workplace communication training.

Fortunately, when Dan quit sending emails and sent voicemails (the boss's preferred method of communication) instead, and then went a step further by initiating regular face-to-face meetings with his boss, his long-awaited promotion came quickly! Just a little bit of training did the trick!

There is also The Over-Emailer, The Novel-Writing Emailer, The What-the-Heck-Did-That-Mean? Emailer, The "Cover-Your-Assets" Emailer, and The Hide-n-Seek Emailer. All need to be addressed with workplace communication training. Just a little bit can go a long way in correcting these workplace "tortures." If you are putting off workplace communication training for any reason, everyone will pay the price!