Email is the most one dimensional form of business communication. There is zero emotion conveyed, so our overactive imaginations frequently strain to make up behavioral context for the content. There is no real-time dialogue, so plenty gets lost in translation. And there is absolutely no right-brain subtext, because we’re dealing in only left-brain text.
Email is NOT human, according to Robert McKee in today’s podcast on the importance of face-to-face communication in business.
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He applauds the relatively new Yahoo chief, Marissa Mayer, and her edict to bring employees back into the office from working at home. McKee said that she understands that “when people talk in the presence of each other, face-to-face instead of emails, creativity happens.” According to Forbes, “Her approval rating on the employee rating site Glassdoor is 84%, despite her controversial ban on working from home.”
“How does culture get passed from worker to worker, from generation to generation, from department to department? By storytelling face-to-face. Emails have caused more misunderstandings, because it’s not human. Email just divorces the humanity from it and mistakes get made,” McKee said.
He points to the great scientific imperative over the past 30 to 40 years of researching and understanding how the mind works.
“The mind makes story, It interprets reality as a story. It tells itself stories. It remembers in stories. It anticipates in stories. And human beings tell each other stories.”
The foundation of storytelling in business comes down to seeing the person’s eyes and their mannerisms, because subtext through their body language is more important than what they’re actually verbalizing. Email simply divorces itself from the humanity of communication, and yet we blindly rely on it to accurately convey our thoughts and wishes when it can’t.
To learn more about the business of storytelling, join Robert McKee for his one-day seminar in L.A. on September 26. I’ll be there, and I hope you’ll seek me out and say hello. You know, face-to-face.