A Personal Anti-Email Strategy

Why I'm showing up at your office.

September 15, 2014

Our IHE community has been debating the wisdom of policies designed to discourage student / faculty email communication.  

Judging by the number of comments (55) from Carl’s original article Don’t Email Me, and from Danielle DeRise’s follow-up piece Don't Ban Student Emails (13 comments), there is a good chance that you also have a strong opinion about student email.

But what about your own email practices?  

Are you e-mailing too much? I am. 

Do you send too many emails? I do.

In recognition of my failure to send less e-mail I’ve undertaken the following radical behavioral changes:

Personal Anti-Email Strategy #1 - Walking to Your Office:  

Have you wondered why I’ve been showing up to your office to chat?  

Or why I’ve asked you for a time that we could take a walk around the pond, or grab some coffee?

The reason is that instead of asking you questions or getting your advice or sharing some information by email, I will do so in person. Face to face. With my ears (hopefully mostly), and my mouth (hopefully less).  

Walking to your office rather than sending an email does introduce some inefficiencies.  Sometimes you are not around. (Although I’m getting better a judging the times that you are).  Almost always you seem to be busy. (Usually reading other people’s email or sending email).   

But I will persist.  My legs are slower than the campus network, but walking to ask you something that I previously asked by email is great for getting more FitBit steps.   

Personal Anti-Email Strategy #2 - Talking With You:

How is face-to-face conversation different than email?  

How much of communication is non-verbal?

What do we gain in understanding and trust that we lose in efficiency by walking and talking more and emailing less?

What I am not doing is calling you.  Mostly I dislike the phone as a means of communication. When I say conversation I mean conversation where we are in the same physical space.

Many people seem to be communicating by chatting or texting.  This is also a practice I hope never to embrace.   

The longer I work in educational technology the more I want to listen to you face-to-face.

How do you plan to send less email?


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