It is a well-known fact that HR/management are really there to look after the reputation and interests of the company. I learnt very early on to make sure that 99% of communication with anybody in a company is written. I.e. in the form of the emails.

Of course, the management and the individuals concerned aren't too happy with such arrangements because there is always a potential for their unreasonable behaviour etc to be exposed. Hence they seem to enforce the verbal communication/just come and have a conversation with me narrative.

I prefer to deal with people with written communication. And I'm asking for advice on how best to respond when people say just come and have a conversation?

Having worked in several companies and seen cultures/incidents that have taken place emails/mission correspondence is the only way that I can ensure I am looking after my interests and myself. How can I best say that I prefer written communications?

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    Why don't you send the email summarizing the point after the verbal communication to the involved parties, so that its documented? Jul 20, 2022 at 6:34
  • What is the reason you prefer written comminucation? If it is because you prefer the better ordered way this communication goes (don't talk around things for ages, don't get interrupted all the time) then there may be other advise than if you simply don't like personal contact.
    – puck
    Jul 20, 2022 at 6:55
  • Great point @puck. I definitely prefer the efficiency and non-emotion aspect of written communication. It's also a good way to protect myself as I have had situations where senior members of staff have outright denied/lied about conversations that we have had etc.
    – user311438
    Jul 20, 2022 at 7:19
  • are protocolls an acceptable solution to you? so anything that is agreed on gets written down, preventing he said/she said situations. But people that prefer talking because voice is easier for them than text can speak with you, until an understanding is achieved and that is than written down.
    – Benjamin
    Jul 20, 2022 at 7:28
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    @user311438, it's not clear whether you just want important things in writing, or whether you mean virtually everything. Even quite honest managers - who respect the need for formalities with important issues - might be irked if it became overbearing on trivial issues. And dishonest ones, if they manage you, may simply reject your strategy of recording everything.
    – Steve
    Jul 23, 2022 at 11:39

2 Answers 2


You cannot. If your boss wants to have a chat with you, they will have a chat with you.

You can insist on a summary in writing, but that should be exceedingly rare. I have insisted on getting orders in writing only twice in my career, both times because I thought implementing a software the way my boss wanted would be breaking contracts and/or the law. But I am no lawyer, so if my boss tells me the company lawyer cleared it, in writing, that is good enough for me. And both times they were understanding and had no problem with it, because they knew it was a rare ocurrance with me. Matter of fact both times they decided to make very sure their lawyer got it right because I normally don't do that.

But on a daily basis, for day to day work? You will not get that. Because it is extra work to write everything down. And they are the boss, why would they do extra work for you? They hire you to do less work themselves. As they should.

So your best bet is to put it in writing yourself. If you find something might come back to haunt you later, just send the email yourself. Along the lines of "just to make sure I got everything right, according to the conversation earlier I will take the following steps in project X: " and then add bullet points. Don't make it two pages of prose, no boss has time to read that. Quick and to the point and put everything into it that you think is fishy or of value later.

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    @JoeStrazzere I don't really understand. If I don't do what my boss wants me to do until I get it in writing, would that not be called "insisting"? It's not like my boss can make me do it against my will.
    – nvoigt
    Jul 20, 2022 at 10:49
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    You will not get fired for that. At least not where I live and the surrounding countries. Before being fired, you would get a written warning, and getting a written warning not to insist on this specific order in writing... well... is as good as getting it in writing, if not better. I know you can get fired for literally anything and/or nothing in the US, so I cannot really cater to that clientele. It's not tagged US, so I will not assume it is the US.
    – nvoigt
    Jul 20, 2022 at 12:03
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    Where in my text do I say "all orders in writing"? I think I was very explicit when I said "that should be exceedingly rare. I have insisted on getting orders in writing only twice in my career".
    – nvoigt
    Jul 20, 2022 at 13:41
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    And where in the question is it stated the OP is a temp worker?
    – nvoigt
    Jul 20, 2022 at 13:43
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    First and last paragraphs here are good. But I don't see that the OP ever suggested, "insist on a summary in writing..." from the boss. So I feel that this post could have been more concise and on-point as, "Yes, but you need to write the summary yourself after the conversation". I'd upvote +1 if it were edited like that. Jul 23, 2022 at 2:07

I am so in the same boat - except I have a hearing impairment that gives me a bit of extra leverage.

My advice would be along the same lines as nvoigt's (aka Comey's defense aka contemporaneous notes):

So your best bet is to put it in writing yourself. If you find something might come back to haunt you later, just send the email yourself.

...except send that summary to the person or people who were in the meeting. Write down the summary, add "did I get everything right?" - and then if they say nothing, they effectively confirm you did (get it right).

Some might be annoyed by this - yet the true professionals would only be grateful. (I sure am, whenever I get a good written summary after a meeting - not that I am all that professional - not saying that at all.)

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    +1. Instead of a question ("did I get everything right?"), I'd write as a statement ("Tell me if I got anything wrong."). That makes it more clear that, by default, a lack of response indicates acceptance as written. Jul 23, 2022 at 2:10

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