Skip to main content

E-mail has changed the way we interact. But it cannot replace conversation.


The next time you experience an issue over e-mail, ask yourself if it is something that would be better served by a real conversation. Then have the courage to stop e-mailing and pick up the phone, says Harvard Business Review.

"E-mail has fundamentally changed the way we interact. But it cannot replace live conversation. This especially applies when resolving a conflict or communicating an important business decision. Far too many people try to do sensitive business via e-mail. This is problematic because tone and context are easy to misread.

"In a live conversation, how one says something is as important as what they are saying. Without inflections and intonations, it's hard to understand the feelings behind the words. In fact, e-mail-based conflict often escalates because you aren't forced to be as thoughtful as you would be in a one-on-one conversation.

Story continues below advertisement

"Next time you have a delicate or complex issue to discuss, take your hands off the keyboard and pick up the phone."

Today's management tip was adapted from "Don't Send That E-mail. Pick up the Phone!" by Anthony Tjan.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and ( Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

Report an error
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.