Is email the most effective type of communication?

While I would agree that email has made work easier to get done and communicate with everyone, there are many times that an interaction still requires a phone call or a face to face meeting because an email just won’t get the right type of communication across. When was the last time that you were at work and received an email that was taken out of context because you misread the tone of the email, or someone was CC’d on the email and you thought it was because the person sending it was trying to cover themselves or get you in trouble? When communicating through email, it is so much easier to misconstrue the tone, direction or message of the actual communication vs other forms of communication.

Now, many people will point to a generational gap for the expanded use of email as the “only” way of communication. Unfortunately, the majority of the workforce today has never worked at a job or can remember a time where email didn’t exist. I was lucky enough to work for a few “old-school” managers that taught me when an email is sufficient and when a phone call or face to face meeting needs to happen because a certain message needs to be conveyed.

I find that I am more sensitive to this because of my position and profession. There are many times that I am interacting with clients (internal and external) and there are times when the conversations are not very pleasant. When the conversation is tough for me or my audience, I would prefer to have it in person or over the phone because I am almost positive that an email just won’t suffice and there would be something lost in translation no matter how well written the email may be. Also, on the other side of the spectrum if I am delivering good news to someone like awarding the business to a vendor; I want to have that one on one interaction with them through an actual conversation (phone or personal) to gauge and view their reaction. Sometimes you can tell a lot about a business based on how they react when being awarded a contract; are they happy or did they over promise and are now on the hook to deliver something that they may not be able to do? There are a lot of things in business that you can tell by a person’s body language and you cannot see any of that through email…

While I am big fan of email, I do come from a place where it is not the end all be all for professional communication. As mentioned above, please encourage your team to continue to use the phone and face to face meetings when available. I believe more can get done in a face to face meeting with people than what can happen when all of those same people are on an email chain.

Life After Procurement

Many of us are not in the career path that we originally intended back in the glory days of College Undergrad when we thought we could do anything once we graduated. So, many of us are in our Second or possibly even Third career paths and while it is paying the bills now, it is not what is wanted. I have spoken to many people that decided to up and quit one day and pursue their passions, while I wholeheartedly agree with this if you have the means to do so, but many of us have families that depend on a steady income and pursuing our passion won’t pay the bills that come each month. So what do you do if you are not in your desired career path, but still want to pursue something else? You’ll have to see what opportunities your current position affords in terms of lateral or promotions and PIVOT…

In my field of purchasing, I deal with a lot of Chefs and Sales People. While I could not quit purchasing today and be a chef tomorrow, I could probably do pretty well as a salesman in the hospitality division of a company. This is something that I have seen a good number of procurement professionals do since we all know what we do and don’t want to hear from the Sales Reps that we dealt with, so it almost gives you an inside track of how to be successful and build relationships with clients.

This seems to be the most successful transition from procurement or sourcing to another field. Many of us have been in meetings with sales reps and thought to ourselves “why are you saying that”, “did you not do your research on our company”, “do you know our locations”… As I mentioned above, it is almost having an inside track to the sale, because I know what I want and need to hear for me to make a decision and give my company’s business to someone, so if I was a sales rep, I would have an idea of the things to say before even walking in the door.  I have dealt with these kinds of reps and they are always more represented and thought of then someone who has never been on the other side of the table!

Do you see yourself in your position until you retire, or could you pivot into something else? If so, what would your current position lend itself most to for you to be the most successful? When was the last time you thought about a change or had the opportunity, did you take the chance?