Mike on America

Email: The "Coward's" Way Of Reaching Out


How do you know when you've stumbled upon a trend? When you hear something for the 5th time? 10th? 100th?

I don't' know the answer, but I can tell you I think I've found another one. The first one was email. No, I didn't discover email, but I did discover that a whole generation or two had decided that email was 'the' means of communication. It started for me in Italy last Olympics. I asked a young associate to help me out and make a few phone calls. A couple of days went by, no response, so I asked her what was happening.

'I emailed them and they haven't gotten back to me," she said, smiling. Now, you suppose those folks were ever going to get back to this very nice young woman? No. Email I've found is the cowards means of communicating. You don't actually HAVE to talk to anybody.

Oh, I know it's convenient. I know it allows you to think you've accomplished a lot in a shorter amount of time. I know Steve Jobs and Bill Gates want you to do more of it. But does it work? I mean, do you REALLY communicate with someone, or is it just pretending? I know you have a 'record' of it. I know you can even tell if 'they've' read it. So? Have they understood it? Are they getting back to you? Does Warren Buffet email?

So much for trend one. Trend two. "I'll try." It might be just me, but more and more people I know, both personally and professionally, are telling me , 'I'll try.' As if trying is the solution. As if trying is all you have to do. How about 'I'll do it' ?

Yes, I know you teach your children that to try their hardest is all you ask of them. 'Try your best honey, that's all you can do.'

Wrong. The best you can do is to get it done. Trying is admirable in a child, but in an adult, and even more so a professional, trying is not the 'gold standard.' Getting the job done is. At work, at stores, all the people telling me they're going to 'try'. Try this---DO IT.

Ah, they're calling my plane and my cell phone is ringing. Thank God for caller I.D. I don't want to talk to this guy anyway. I'll send him an email. Or at least I'll try.

Keep watching for 'MOA' stories on Power Lunch--I know it's a mystery as to where you'll see them sometimes, but keep watching, they're worth it. I'm off to Sedona. Harmonic convergences on me.

Questions?  Comments?  mikeonamerica@nbcuni.com