What’s Your Favorite Communication Channel?

Do you ever email a co-worker who is just down the hall from you? It’s one thing if you are sending over an attachment or have a quick comment to make, but what about those other times when you end up having long discussions back and forth? It can feel strange, knowing you are both choosing to type responses into a screen rather than actually talk to each other face to face.

Email seems convenient, but sometimes it’s a counterproductive communication channel. When you rely on email, discussions that might have taken fifteen minutes can get drawn out over the course of an entire day (or days). Plus, it’s hard to build good rapport over email. No matter how many emoticons and exclamation points you add in there, you just can’t communicate tone in the same way as you do in person.

When you communicate with co-workers, do you mostly rely on email or is personal interaction preferred? Where do you draw the line?

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Sarah Nagel is lucky to live in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. She works as an editor by day and a freelance writer by night. Connect on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sarahnagel.


  1. Chris Mower on the 21st September

    We have our office set up on Google Chat and Wave. If I see a conversation needs more than a sentence to explain, I will usually get up and walk over to discuss it. It usually saves time and it’s more personal.

    • jiewmeng on the 22nd September

      wave seems like the perfect choice for discussions now. google chat or other messaging tool seems abit too “linear”

  2. Mimi on the 21st September

    E-mail works, especially in setting up personal meetings or to communicate with someone who’s always occupied. The agenda can be set there. I don’t usually jump from desk to desk for fear of disturbing them. I try to communicate over e-mail first to notify them of my needs before I approach. It’s better to meet and interact face to face, and puts a determinate closure to any conversation or project.

    Many times we also forget we can use the phone. That’s an effective tool, too.

  3. Phillip on the 21st September


  4. Norman on the 22nd September

    If I have a problem I normally ask the people around me.
    If I want to talk about a project I normally meet the person.
    If I want to ask a small question about the project and the person is not around me a use the phone or mail.
    If I pre-finished or finished a project I write a mail to everyone involved or may be interested in this project with the state of affairs.

  5. Ramona on the 22nd September

    If it was an attachment or something, I’d use email. If we have to discuss something personally, then I do it in person. I have used Skype in some occasions, but, if it’s a longer chat, I always like doing it in person. If I don’t have the time to meet “down the hall”, maybe I don’t have the time to chat at all and should actually focus on my work 😀

  6. Faye Hollands on the 22nd September

    Email is a fabulous tool but it can also be the devil when it comes to building relationships as it can be so easily misconstrued. Forwarding an email on or sending a quick reminder to someone who is just around the corner or over the partition to you is fine, but for anything else? Get off your butt and TALK in person – you’ll build a much stronger and more effective relationship that way.

  7. melanie brooks on the 23rd September

    I work in a pretty small office. Sometimes we yell through the walls, but most often we use the phone or just pop over.

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