For sensitive issues, such as appraisals, coaching, counselling, company change, a face-to-face approach is always best.
If any type of work negotiation is involved, such as agreeing deadlines or priorities, meet the person or at least pick up the phone. It's tempting to opt for speed, but an efficient phone conversation often covers all the points more quickly than tens of emails.
One definite no-no is using email for unpleasant messages.
Never, ever send people bad or difficult messages, or anything that puts them down. If there's a problem, speak to them directly. It's about using your discretion.
E-mail at the workplace is a fantastic tool for passing on information quickly, cheaply and easily. But it is dangerous to embrace it as your only means of communicating.
Using email for sensitive and subtle messages not only leads to misunderstandings, but it puts our ability to express ourselves on the fireline.
A golden rule: If you can see or call the person, don't email them. Get out of your chair and talk to them, or pick up the phone and call them. You'll be honing your communications skills, combating email overload, and building better workplace relationships.
See more recomedations for senders using email.