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Communication and collaboration are the most important aspects of business today and probably the hardest things to do effectively.

With this in mind, it’s surprising to think of all the short cuts we try to take.

Even at the most basic level, how many times do we reach for the keyboard to ‘bang out’ an email even when the recipient is in the same office?

Why do we do this?

Partly I think it’s about ease; sending an email can take a few seconds. We type, press ‘Send’ and it’s done. The alternative is far more complicated, we may actually have to listen and understand a different point of view.

Mostly though I think it’s a defence mechanism. If something goes wrong, we can point back to our email where we shared the risks or pointed out the pitfalls. By sending an email, we can avoid taking the blame, right?

What we miss out on though is the opportunity to connect.

By being efficient we are less effective.

By protecting ourselves from blame we miss out on the chance to create a solution to the problems that we face and develop relationships with our colleagues.

When it comes to encouraging people to get the message, I have some simple rules.

1. If you can speak face to face, do it.

2. If you can’t speak face to face, have a telephone/video call.

3. If you can’t do one of the above, think again.

4. If you really can’t do one of the above, then send an email.

This post is part of my 60 day blog challenge.