Reduce E-mail Overload by Diversifying Your Channels of Communication

Last Updated Aug 17, 2010 11:42 PM EDT

We spend a lot of time here at Business Hacks describing ways to better manage your inbox. Business communication can be overwhelming, and some folks get so much mail that dealing with it can become a primary on-the-job task. Here's a different tactic: Reduce your e-mail by encouraging your co-workers to use alternate communication channels when it's appropriate, like IM, wikis, and blogging.

The Dachis Group, a social business company for the enterprise, recently blogged about "channeling communication velocity." This intriguing post suggests that instead of using e-mail for all of your communication, you should consider the appropriateness of the medium to the velocity of each message. For example:
  • Fast moving discussions should happen via instant messaging. Transcripts can be archived for later reference.
  • Fleeting communication can be microblogged, where everyone can reference qestions and answers, along with the resulting links to other resources.
  • Slow-moving discussions and analysis can form organically on a wiki.
All of these options can have the result of dramatically reducing the pressure on your inbox and moving communication to more appropriate channels.

I like the idea in principle, but I stand by my earlier position that I'm not a big fan of instant messaging, which I find randomizing and distracting. I'd still rather get an e-mail which I can answer on my own schedule than get pinged with a variety of IM windows that I feel pressured to answer right away at the cost of my own productivity.

What kind of communication strategy do you use? Are you entirely invested in e-mail or do you use some of these other options as well? Sound off in the comments. [via Lifehacker]

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