Human beings are hard-wired to read faces – our babies figure it out way before they can talk or walk.
While there are facilitators out there who help groups in virtual meetings, I am not one of them. I find it hard to connect with people when our interaction is mediated by a screen – I like to hear the nuances of their tone of voice, watch their body language, feel their energy in the room. That said, I do spend a good portion of my day communicating via email. My favorite e-newsletter of all time recently had a piece discussing when it’s OK to give someone feedback via email or text, and when it needs to be done face to face.
Joseph Grenny’s suggestion is to ask yourself this question: do I need to see the other person’s face in order to know if this message was received well? If so, DON’T do it by email! If for some reason you have to write it, write it twice – once for the content, and once more while imagining the recipient’s face. This will help you to anticipate, and thus correct, possible misunderstandings.