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WHEN WE TEXT AND EMAIL TO BE EFFICIENT, ARE WE ACTUALLY MAKING THINGS WORSE?

I must admit that I have fallen in love with email. It has several great attributes, particularly for lawyers:
 
  • It allows for instant communication (avoids “phone tag”)
  • It documents receipt of the communication (a lawyer can’t say they didn't get it)
  • It documents the communication (a phone call is only documented if taped).

However, use of email can lead to miscommunication and impersonal approaches to problem-solving. In my book, The Constructive Divorce, published by the ABA, I suggest that lawyers pick up the phone and talk to each other instead of exchanging written communications. I also suggest that personal visits be incorporated into negotiations.

The personal touch might take a little more time, but it can also lead to better communication. I was glad to see that billionaire Richard Branson agrees. In his 18 Tips for Success, he says, “pick up the phone.” He states, “the quality of business communications has become poorer in recent years as people avoid phone calls and face-to-face meetings, I can only assume in some quest for efficiency.” He concludes, “there is nothing efficient about allowing a small problem to escalate.” Interesting comments from someone who has so many business interests.