Stop the e-mail madness!!!

11 05 2016

“A conference is gathering of people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide than nothing can be done.” ~ Fred Allen

Groups of greater than about 4 that get together to debate an issue and decide on a course of action have a tendency to risk going in circles.  Large meetings should be used as a forum for communicating information, but not necessarily to decide stuff.  When these larger groups get spun up in circles about a particular decision, it’s often a wise move for the senior person at the table to designate a smaller task force of 3-5 (I prefer 3) people who have the background knowledge behind what needs to be decided, and a stake in ensuring that all options and possible outcomes (good and bad) are fully discussed.  Then this team can come together in the larger forum and communicate what was decided, why it was decided, and what the risk is of the decision.

The same goes for e-mails.  Using e-mail to communicate something to a large group of people who may be geographically dispersed is a wonderful thing.  When I see that I’ve got 6+ people on the e-mail distribution, and I’m asking for feedback (or a dreaded decision!), I almost always ask that they not reply-all.  If they all reply back to me with their opinion, then I can pull them together and communicate back out the result of the opinions, and the decision.  Technology isn’t terrible, but it can be if you don’t keep it in its place.  Don’t forget the power of a phone call or a face-to-face conversation, and help each other stop the e-mail madness in its tracks!

Speaking of conferences…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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