Friday, April 4, 2008

The phaticness of email

From Engineers without fears-- the presence paradox - lite communication tools:

Most of our corporate communications (emails from the CEO, townhall meetings, intranet pages) position themselves as meaningful but are frequently meaningless. Instead they convey another set of messages around status, order & control. They are, in fact, almost purely phatic.

If you start looking for the phatic messages in emails, and who amongst us doesn't, it changes everything. And that is why you must use a variety of modalities for communication. Especially if you work in a multi-generational workplace. (And God help you if you don't).


Vince Verbeke said...

For one, I am Mr. Non-Phatic in real world anyway. So I'm not looking for the chit-chat message in anything. "Just the facts Ma'am" is what works for me. I've moved to Twitter for example with reluctance. Not trepidation mind you, I see and understand the value.

We do need to use a variety of communication tools. Yup. Just don't expect me, and others like me, to answer "How are you?" with "Fine, How are you?" .... ever.

Floyd Davenport said...

I'm fine. Thanks Vince.

Peg Boyles said...

Ah, Vince! Count me among the folks who think all facts emerge from and have their being within the phatic sea. Emphatically.