Email is Not the Answer

I have learned the benefits of face to face meetings rather than email. It has taken a long time.

Email is great let’s be frank, but the ability of someone to misread an email and take it the wrong way is so much higher when you are not sitting across from the person discussing the issues. There are many reasons for this.

For a start you do not get the crucial nonverbal communication clues.

What are nonverbal communication clues? Well I am glad you asked.

Wikipedia describes Nonverbal Communication as:
“the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless (mostly visual) cues between people. It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as body language (kinesics), but nonverbal communication encompasses much more, such as use of voice (paralanguage), touch (haptics), distance (proxemics), and physical environments/appearance.” (Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonverbal_communication)

Face to face meeting allow you to pick up on nonverbal clues. It is that simple.

So when Ms Rabbit (who is an artist) fires off emails to her distributors I have my heart in my mouth. It’s a problem for artists, they get so preoccupied with their art they lose focus on the business side. Yes art has a business component. It requires the artist to engage with the audience, rather than patronise them.

Patronise is often the wrong word for how artists engage with an audience, since the meaning is often described as pretending to be kind to someone when you are actually feeling superior to them. I find that most artists don’t patronise they are openly superior, which means a scathing review or a return of a purchased item is often treated with fury. Obviously when you spend ages developing an idea and working on it to a finished state you build a certain amount of love is built that would be similar to what a parent feels towards his or her child.

Learning to take criticism on the chin should be a crucial part of artist training but it does not often work that way. It is not taught in arts school. At least they should teach artists to pretend to care and take criticism. It is easy to feign that you care for someone face to face. A skilled sales person will learn how to use the nonverbal communication to advantage. A skilled artist should learn these skills.

3 thoughts on “Email is Not the Answer

  1. I understand your sentiments. May I just wade into the pool? When writing messages to people I don’t know, I try to be extra courteous and to use very polite language, because sometimes, I have intepreted words that were not meant to insult me as insulting. I always bother about what people will read into what I’m saying. I hate email and telephone conversations, and to an extent, face to face conversations. I like overhearing them, though, or making them up, as you’ve seen on my blog. People tell me a lot about themselves when they’re not talking directly to me. Wading further in, I understand “business” over “authenticity” and it’s a struggle. I don’t ever submit my work to competitions or for review. I get boiling when people say, “Oh, it’s interesting.” That sounds like someone’s saying, “I can’t be bothered looking closely and I’ll just throw in a compliment to appease your ego, which I assume is fragile.” I actually like when people are loudly disapproving of my work. It feels like they’re connecting with it and I feel like I’ve achieved something.

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    1. I agree you can be very courteous in email, but I guess my issue with it is even when being courteous you do face the problem of being misunderstood.

      I like your blog BTW. I also have conversations with myself. It makes my partner laugh hysterically sometimes, especially when I am washing dishes and having desperately passionate conversation between my light and dark sides.

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      1. Thank you, this is much appreciated. I’ve just had the same problem today, and needed more words to explain myself clearly. It’s interesting how much is read into words. As an author, I think it’s really important to keep those conversations going, to feed the fictional behemoth. Good luck with book writing and thank you for your compliments.

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