Focusing on appreciation

We’re an extremely email happy culture at TokBox. We have automated emails, out of office emails, working from home emails, and then just a bunch of emails about getting things done.

As I’ve been drowning in email lately, I started to notice a pattern that I really don’t like.

In an effort to move through the deluge of communication coming my way, I very quickly, and often curtly, reply to emails or start new email threads. I don’t stop to do any level of thanking, appreciation, or even common courtesy.

As email is such a large part of our culture, it would be as if I came up to someone’s desk, didn’t notice their hair was dyed blue, and left without saying as much. I don’t like that. And so I’m going to change it.

I’m going to do two things differently:

  1. I’m going to stop sending as many emails that lead to conversations. I want to do conversations with people, get their frank opinions, and understand exactly what they’re saying while being physically present in the conversation. It means no more midnight emails, but it also means being actively engaged in the outcome of a discussion, and not just being able to throw bombs across the table, and be agnostic to the result.
  2. I’m going to open emails with positive comments as opposed to direct actions, negative comments, or unsolicited thoughts (which will lead to a conversation). This just feels like it makes the email feel more like I’m at the person’s desk getting a quick status update on something while making sure that their sick kid is doing okay. It’s what I would do in real life, and so why not in the virtual life I’ve built?

I don’t know how it’s going to go as I love sending and receiving email, but we’ll see soon. Very soon 🙂