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Email overload: say ‘no’ when people ask you to email them what you have just asked them

Posted Friday April 8th, 2011, 9:30 am by

Email overload – ask someone to do something and the response is email me!  How rude is that?  Last week’s post on our total reliance on email was popular.  That and my current client work prompted me to post a second blog on this theme of when to use an alternative to email.

One of the most annoying comment I receive when phoning someone is ‘can you put that in an email’.  If it’s a client sometimes it’s hard to say ‘no’, but with everyone else my solution is to forget! This has cost some people money as the call was to remind them to invoice me for their commission fee.

I find this the rudest response.  If you have been asked to do a task, why do you need it in email?  Are you suffering with dementia?  Do you not have a device on which to make your own ‘To Do List’ (electronic or paper and pencil).  Is it plain lazyness?  Perhaps is it that you want an audit trail?

In my pocket/handbag there is always a pen and paper but perhaps that is because my parents owned a stationary business and my love of pens and paper has never left me!

Seriously, if someone asks you to do something, my management school says it is now your problem to remember and get on with it, but certainly not respond with ‘ can you put it an email’.  That just compounds  the cover my backside and litigious culture which now pervades most organisations.

The only exception is if you are having a corridor conversation in which you are seeding an idea with a senior executive.

What is your opinion and experience.

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  • Goodness…..This is the first thing you've written, l actually agree with………! 🙂

    AND…As far as JFK, and his say'in…..
    What the hell has this country done for anyone….! Except rob people of there dignity and honor….!

  • Sort of agree but…………
    People often phone me when I am driving (on hands free)with a query for example re booking a training coures.
    If I ask them to email me it means I don't forget they have called and what their requsst was about. Means you also have their phone no. and correct email address – surprising how many Jims on the phone are on email as James.
    Everyone seems quite happy to do this – maybe because I always get back to them.
    Regards Lynn