Writing Can Be Dangerous

Back in the days when we communicated at work via office memos, I learned that my fullsizeoutput_2919cryptic messages were often taken in a way I didn’t mean. Then, someone would get their feelings hurt or get mad and dissatisfaction would bloom like spring daffodils. There weren’t any problems before my memo. Just observations or changes that needed to be made. However, my writing created a problem.

Fortunately, the mess was easily solved. I walked to the person’s desk, sat down, and chatted face-to-face. Or, I picked up the phone and had a real back-and-forth conversation. In the end, this took less time than dealing with the backlash of the m
emo and resulted in ending most of the discontent.

Isn’t there something to be learned from the past? Today, we communicate via quick texts, short emails, and various social media. Isn’t there a huge chance that we’ll be misunderstood that way? Do we ever find out what the person we wrote to thought about what we said?

Yesterday, I got an email that I misinterpreted. I fired back a message that I now regret. Why didn’t I pick up the phone?

Do we shy away from phone calls these days? Do you ever place a phone call and hope it goes to voice mail so you don’t have to spend so much time with that particular message?

I admit that I’m practically addicted to all things digital. Nevertheless, I think I’ll be healthier if I go back to talking to people face-to-face or voice-to-voice. My phone is always with me, and long distance calls no longer cost per minute of talk time. I’m not so busy that I can’t learn to make short phone calls and treat myself to more social interaction. Less social media, more social interaction.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Writing Can Be Dangerous

  1. Is this perhaps a generational thing? I am not disagreeing as I like to pick up the phone for instant clarification. Do younger people think calls are time wasters? Sounds like a great book!

  2. I think it probably is a generational thing. And, I’d love to hear from younger people how they feel about the differences between digital vs. human interaction. Both have their place and their benefits, don’t you think?

  3. I agree and yet, at least in the south, we seem to suffer from the inability to have a succinct conversation. I know that’s one reason I rely on email. We are working through our to-dos and don’t feel we have the time for a call because we don’t know how to end it. More face-to-face time with our colleagues apart from our to-do time might be one solution, bringing things up over coffee, even if coffee has to be “together separately,” over FaceTime.

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