I could really care less about voice recognition, the thing that I got from the article, is that most people understand the written word better than the spoken word. In particular, this passage hit home:
In my experience, speech is one of the least effective, inefficient forms of communicating with other human beings. By that, I mean...Say it again!
- typical spoken communication tends to be off-the-cuff and ad-hoc. Unless you're extremely disciplined, on average you will be unclear, rambling, and excessively verbose.
- people tend to hear about half of what you say at any given time. If you're lucky.
- spoken communication puts a highly disproportionate burden on the listener. Compare the time it takes to process a voicemail versus the time it takes to read an email.
One of my colleagues is super-bright, Ivy league educated...but I don't understand a word he's saying sometimes. We do joke back and forth that it's my measly state school education holding me back, but it is a real problem, for me. I've been working with him so that we can meet somewhere in between, but it's difficult. He uses a lot of 3 syllable words and my brain just can't handle that.
When he writes, it's better...but there's still a gap. I won't blame him for all of it. :)
I've had the problem in the past...one of my former Arch Nemesis(es?) sat right next to me, but could barely speak a word of English (no, it's not what you think). The running joke in the company was that this person had their own special brand of English (not American English either). The writing however, was slightly better.
It's not just limited to email either, IM will suffice since you can save that stuff and read it again later.
It's also not a CYA (cover your ass) thing...it's just that, well, people don't communicate very well. I'm probably guilty of this as well. I am not extremely disciplined (in spoken word) and I have a tendency to go (way) off topic (like telling dirty jokes). Email/IM are perfect.
There's also the added (CYA) bonus of having it there to digest later, perhaps multiple times, which I often do. I'll flag a particular important email and reread it 10s of times.
Is this unacceptable to you? Should you be able to come up to me and just say, hey Chet, I need such and such, and assume you are done with it?