7 Reasons to NOT use e-mail for urgent messages

Reason #6: It’s the wrong ‘mode’ for urgent communication

As we saw in last week’s blog, urgent e-mails can’t be relied on by senders and puts a real (and unnecessary) strain on receivers. The reality is that if you really need someone to get your message almost immediately, then e-mail is the wrong tool to use.

Consider the diagram below and how the range of communication modes available to us can be divided into 3 basic categories;

  • written or digital – text/instant messages, facebook, tweets, e-mail
  • auditory – voicemail and phone
  • visual – video-conference, face-to-face meetings

E-mail is a written, digital form of communication. Urgent messages, by their very nature, are not best suited to this method – they are best communicated using a synchronous mode that involves ‘live’ conversation by phone or face-to-face contact.

If your message is urgent, you can’t count on e-mail. You can try using it that way and, most of the time, it will work for you. But you can’t fully rely on it! You can just about guarantee that, at some stage, an urgent message will not get through or it will be delayed, and often when you least expect it (Murphy’s Law at work).

Why choose to treat e-mail as if it were a real-time communication tool, when by its very nature, it cannot be? 

So that’s the sixth of the 7 reasons to NOT use e-mail for urgent messages. Our next and final blog post in this series will look at how using e-mail for urgent messages actually limits the amount of control you have in handling e-mail effectively.

All the best,

Steuart Snooks