Question: I read your column “You’ve Got Mail” in the September 19 issue. You were on the money that e-mail is used too much as a substitute for having a conversation. You spent too much time on the e-mail part, though. How about telling us more about how to get away from our computers and have real conversations? For example, the problem you dealt with in the column (an employee and a boss who use e-mail inappropriately) is a familiar one. Instead of trying to solve the problem electronically, why not sit down and talk it through?
Answer: I appreciate this reader’s feedback. The point is well made. While using e-mail more effectively is part of becoming a savvier communicator, it’s only part of the equation. Another part has to do with becoming a more assertive communicator. As the reader points out, we need to move from behind our desks and talk with one another, especially when the topic is complex or potentially volatile or when high stakes issues are involved. In this column, then, I’ll spend some time discussing some of the issues surrounding “tough talks.”
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