There is someone you are having conflict with. It's a tense relationship. You dread talking to that person. You avoid seeing them. It may not be too bad right now, but sometimes it heats up. Maybe it's someone in your church. Maybe a staff member. Maybe a relative or friend.
I'm right, aren't I. We all have those types of working relationships.
And many times, because we don't like to face them or talk to them--we resort to email communication as often as possible. And that just makes the relationship worse.
We wrote in Simply Strategic Stuff that you should never email "when you are in any type of relational conflict with the individual." We said, "Talk with him or her in person so that you can see the eyes, watch the body language, and sense the person's spirit" (Chapter 87, pages 178-179).
Tim Sanders wrote in a blog post, "Over email, I have no earthly idea what you intend. This is especially true in the pithy thumbwritten world of Blackberry. It wouldn't be surprising that you and I can get cross-ways in the up and down world of business. Stuff happens. If we are 100% over email, bad stuff happens to relationships when day to day stuff happens."
He advises to take all communication with that individual off-line for one week. Use the phone or have face-to-face meetings...no email or IM for one entire week...and see if the relationship improves.
It's pretty good advice.