Obviously, I like writing. I like translating thoughts into the Written Word. In the corporate world, the Written Word means documentation. Documents institutionalize agreements, understanding, processes, correspondences, reports, opinions. These documents form part of the necessary administrative backbone of any company or organization.
But I believe in limits to the use of the Written Word.
I remember a colleague who used the email for each and every comment, reprimand, criticism, complaint. And she makes liberal use of capitalization, punctuation, symbolism to make or prove a point.
Her peers, direct reports are greatly offended by her use of the Written Word. I decided to talk to her to get her point of view. She explained that she resorts to emails because she is afraid that verbalizing her thoughts and feelings would just lead to arguments and debates. And she will end up being very hurtful. Writing, for her, is the less offensive way of dealing with negative issues.
i gave her my opinion on the matter. i have learned to rely more on the Spoken Word, specially when discussing sensitive matters. For me, a confrontation, a verbal tussle still trumps a strongly-worded written letter when it comes to relationship value.
I value my relationship to you so much that I would rather discuss it with you personally, allow you to explain your side and hopefully, reach some kind of agreement or understanding. I will see your reaction as you will see mine. Full transparency in communication.
Which is what I feel the Written Word does not do. It gives an effective screen to hide under. Face-to-face communication requires much more character.
Yes we can argue. Yes, we could even have a word war escalation. But these Spoken Words, though hurtful, will not be set in stone the way the Written Word will be. More so in this day and age, anything electronically written has a way of surviving. Those offensive terms and comments are released into the electronic universe. These can come back to haunt, further hurt and damage people.
I advise restrain in the use of the Written Word. Much much restrain. Try as much as possible to use the Spoken Word first. Again, it takes much more character and courage to speak rather than to just write.