There’s a rampaging fascination with E-mail. People send out billions and billions of messages every day.

And they’re missing out on a more effective tool.

So what could be better than E-mail?

What guarantees effective communication?

What always lets you accomplish more?

The answer is (drum roll, please) . . . .

Talking to people.

Here’s why.

1) You gain a high return on your investment.

That is, you gain better information by talking with people. Sometimes you even gain the correct information.

Often the way something is said is more important than what is said. The tone of voice, facial expressions, vocal energy, gestures, rate of speaking, and body language tell more than any text message.

In some conversations, the words (or text) simply serve as a carrier for the real message. Effective leaders know how to listen beyond the words to this message and then respond to it. They also know how to seek out hidden messages that lurk in the shadows of the conversation.

2) You become a human being.

Human beings are eligible for respect, courtesy, and dignity. Things, on the other hand, are not.

A relationship built upon an impersonal communication process, such as E-mail, risks being treated like a thing. That is, it can be ignored, discarded, or misused.

When you participate in a conversation your presence makes a powerful statement about being human. It also lets you validate the other person as being human. This handshake of mutual respect builds the lasting, valuable relationships that make leaders effective.

3) You give a priceless gift.

Each of us has a basic need to feel connected with society. This need is so powerful, that it sustains life. (In fact, studies have shown that being disconnected from society destroys life.)

All effective leadership strategies encourage talking to the people in your organization. It puts a face on your words. And by talking to people, you connect them together within the society of your organization.

4) You receive something in return.

If you listen carefully, people will tell you more than you expected to hear. They will answer your questions and then answer questions that had not thought to ask. They will share wisdom, ideas, and news. They will make you think. All of this helps you a become a more effective leader.