Quite often, I see emails between my colleagues which open with the expression: “As we discussed or communicated or clarified over the phone”. Such emails usually follow an oral communication between the parts that are involved, so as the sender to make clear that the written words are not an inch far from the spoken truth.
I don’t remember myself doing something like that, not a single time. Supposing that I have elaborated on an issue, I start with “The situation is this, and we will continue the project like that”. I use present tense to describe the framework of a task and I don’t try to connect oral with written interactions.
In a night activity I asked a colleague, who was using such email introductions, to make a comment on this habit. He explained that his intentions were to write a formal opening which would help the co-workers understand faster the issue and, by extension, get to the point and respond accurately. He said that under no circumstances would use the opening to put pressure on his peers or, even worse, to use it as point of reference if someone ever asked him “Where did you find that? We didn’t agree on anything of those you say”.
It is impressive that, sometimes, employees ignore heuristics when it comes to established norms in their working environment. They assimilate unspoken rules without questioning themselves “Why am I doing it?”, especially when intuition has all the control over intellect.