Shift to E-mail in Business Makes Crafting Meaningful Messages More Important



    TORONTO, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - As professionals with overflowing inboxes may
attest, people are doing more typing than talking when communicating on the
job. Results from a recent OfficeTeam survey bear this out: Nearly two-thirds
(65 per cent) of executives prefer to receive e-mail over other forms of
communication, up from 34 per cent a decade ago. Conversely, the preference
for face-to-face meetings, paper memos and voice mail has dropped.
    Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam, a leading staffing
service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative
professionals, noted that while e-mail offers convenience, this ease comes at
a price. "Many professionals receive an overwhelming amount of e-mail, which
makes it easier for messages to get lost in the shuffle," she said.
    The survey was developed by OfficeTeam and conducted by an independent
research firm, and includes interviews with 150 senior executives.
    Executives were asked, "Which form of business communication do you
generally prefer to receive?" Their responses:

    
                                          2007    1997
                                         ------  ------
    E-mail...............................   65%     34%
    Face-to-face meeting.................   31%     44%
    Paper memo...........................    3%     12%
    Voice mail...........................    1%      7%
    Don't know...........................    0%      3%
                                         ------  ------
                                           100%    100%
    

    "Two benefits of electronic communication are the immediacy and
historical context it provides, including the ability to maintain a record of
conversations and obtain project updates from coworkers and business
colleagues," Domeyer said. "But there can be too much of a good thing when
inboxes reach capacity."
    To avoid e-mail overload and ensure your messages are well-received,
OfficeTeam offers these five tips:

    
    -   Make it clear. State the purpose for the message upfront, followed by
        back-up details, so the important points will show up in the
        recipient's e-mail viewing pane.

    -   Avoid copying everyone. Only forward messages to those who are
        directly involved with the topic you're addressing. Likewise, don't
        "reply all" if others on the string don't need your response.

    -   Keep it brief. Don't expect others to read a long message or e-mail
        chain. If it's important for someone to have the background
        information, forward it, but provide a brief summary first rather
        than saying "see below."

    -   Don't cry wolf. Only mark a message "urgent" when it is truly
        critical for the recipient to read it immediately.

    -   Provide context. Describe the e-mail contents in the subject line so
        the recipient can prioritize messages and search for your note in the
        future. When appropriate, include the required action and deadline;
        for example, "For your approval 12/27: XYZ budget."
    

    Domeyer noted that, although e-mail is fast, it isn't the most
appropriate medium for all communications. "Often, tasks can be accomplished
more quickly and clearly with a phone call or face to face," she said. "When
people find themselves spending a lot of time searching for precisely the
right words, it's often a sign that the topic warrants an in-person
discussion."

    OfficeTeam, the world's leading staffing service specializing in the
placement of highly skilled administrative professionals, has more than
300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at
www.officeteam.com.





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