Emails Can’t Replace Human Interaction

by | Mar 17, 2022 | Culture, Leadership

Can emails replace Zoom meetings? I don’t think so, but I saw a Tweet that said, “99% of Zoom meetings can be replaced by email.” I’m here to tell you that I couldn’t disagree more; you can’t just eliminate all human connection and interaction.  

I understand that there has been Zoom fatigue after the last two years. My recent blog, “Characteristics of Bad Meetings,” discusses how to improve your meetings to avoid burnout from back-to-back Zoom calls all day. I get it, but let’s not throw out Zoom altogether.  

 Zoom is a powerful tool that provides face-to-face interaction and enhances times when we can’t be together. There’s no perfect way to communicate. Sometimes I even prefer a phone call rather than a Zoom meeting. However, I’m really against replacing all conversations, whether a Zoom meeting or phone call, with just an email. I’ll send one or two emails before I jump on a phone call with someone to have a conversation. If multiple people are involved, that’s when we set up a Zoom meeting. Email can be a complete waste of time, and they prevent you from reading body language and tone.  

 Think about who you are communicating to and what you’re communicating. If you’re reporting data, facts, or things that don’t need to be discussed, email is a great option. If you need nuance, interaction, body language, tone, discussion, collaboration, that’s really challenging to get over email. If you replace human interaction with emails, it’s a slippery slope around the commoditization of people, which I’m against. If we only do things by email, people will start outsourcing everything. Do we want that? No!  

 You need the right people on your team: their brains, thoughts, conversation, interaction, etc. It’s important to vet out ideas and talk through things to create the strongest organization you can. Going forward, differentiate what needs to be done in person versus over the phone, on Zoom, or via email. I strenuously disagree with blanket statements saying you can just eliminate things.  

 I hope you’re all being thoughtful about how we’re communicating at this time and what the best way to communicate is going forward. Always find the best way to do things and never get stuck in one way. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this; I always want to learn, replicate, and duplicate best practices. Thanks!  

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About Me

I am the President & CEO of Service Express, a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. Service Express has averaged double digit growth every year since 2001.

We attribute our success to a unique corporate culture that we call The Service Express Way. I am a member of the Young President Organization and sit on the Board of the Spectrum Health Foundation.