Communicating in a Virtual World Part 3: Emails


With the onset of a worldwide pandemic, employees were sent home to work in an attempt to flatten the contagion curve. People have learned to work remotely, utilizing online tools and changing the way they communicate. Person to person contact became a rare occurrence, Zoom replaced meetings, and emails have transformed our workplace communications. 

Working differently in this “current normal”, we started to notice challenges in keeping teams together and conflicts beginning to build. In fact, employees and leaders indicated that they noticed new problems surfacing that were not evident before. In order to address and minimize these challenges, here are some tips to assist in working from home and to ensure you say what you mean, and mean what you email.

Emails and Other Forms of Written Communication

Consider the mode of communication – in person, telephone, IM/DM, text, Zoom, etc.  Use the most appropriate method.

  • Check your assumptions – avoid F.A.E.s  (fundamental attribution error is the tendency people have to assumr negative intent or overemphasize personal characteristics while ignoring situational factors in judging others’ behaviour)
  • Wait before responding – self manage
  • Be transparent – don’t make them guess
  • Tone is easily misconstrued – maybe explain your positive intent
  • Think before adding cc and bcc individuals – like posting, everyone may not need to be included
  • Address missteps promptly
  • Apologize when you make a mistake

In short, read, write, and post with empathy.  Everyone has their own challenges and is going through their own struggles. Balance your honesty with tact. Like Dr. Bonnie says: “Be kind. Be calm. Be safe.”  

Groups and teams more effectively talk through issues and develop solutions with guidance from experts trained in search conference facilitation and related techniques. Contact us for a free consultation on how our counsellors can help solve your organization’s communication breakdown.

Click here for Part 1: Virtual Meetings and Part 2: Social Media.

Communicating in a Virtual World Part 3: Emails

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