Delicate Communication is Best Done in Person

In this busy world, many of us depend on emails, texts, social media posts, and other electronic communication to share our views and communicate with clients, colleagues, and employees. The written word is a powerful communication tool, but sometimes a face-to-face conversation is a far better choice.

If you need to discuss emotionally charged information, do it in person. Emotional issues often put people on the defensive where the chances of miscommunication increase. Most of us hear what we expect to hear, and although the words we’re reading may not be inherently negative or provocative, we read more into them than we should and respond accordingly.

Tone of voice and body language play a major role in imparting meaning. The simple question, “What?” can indicate incredulity, surprise, or a simple request for clarification. Face-to-face communication allows for immediate clarification, so hard feelings don’t develop unnecessarily.

A face-to-face meeting can also demonstrate a certain level of respect for the person you’re meeting with and/or indicate the importance of the subject you’ll be discussing. This helps set expectations appropriately.

So the next time you’re struggling to write an email about a delicate subject, ask yourself whether email is the best way to communicate.