"In contrast to a phone call or talking in person, e-mail can be emotionally
impoverished when it comes to nonverbal messages that add nuance to our words.
Typed words lack the rich emotional context we convey in person.
E-mail, of course, is quick and convenient and lets us stay in touch with lots of people. But if we rely solely on e-mail at work, the absence of a channel for the brain's emotional circuitry carries risks. In an article to be published next year in the Academy of Management Review, Kristin Byron, an assistant professor of management at Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management, finds that e-mail generally increases the likelihood of conflict and miscommunication.
One reason for this is that we tend to misinterpret positive e-mail messages as more neutral, and neutral ones as more negative, than the sender intended. Even jokes are rated as less funny by recipients than by senders."
" Sitting alone in a cubicle or basement writing e-mail, the sender
internally "hears" emotional overtones, though none of those cues
will be sensed by the recipient.
When we talk, my brain's social radar detects that hint of stridency in your voice and automatically lowers my own tone of exaspiration, all in the service of reaching agreement. But when we send e-mail, there is little to nothing by way of emotional cues to pick up."
[The above sentences are excerpts from the newspaper article. PT]
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