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Email preferred method of communication for execs

By Mario Cywinski |

Communicating over email continues to rise in popularity as voicemail and paper memos are on their way out, according to a new study.

Over 65 per cent of business executives now prefer to use e-mail to do their communicating, up from 34 per cent a decade earlier, said an OfficeTeam survey.

In turn, while face to face communication is still the second most popular way to do business, it is down 13 per cent from 1997 to 31 per cent. Paper memos and voice mail round out the list at 3 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

While e-mail makes communicating easier, it has both positives and negatives to think about.

"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," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Many professionals receive an overwhelming amount of e-mail, which makes it easier for messages to get lost in the shuffle, when boxes reach capacity."

The study outlined a few tips that will make e-mail communication as pain free as possible.

The first thing to remember is to keep e-mail clear, brief and not convoluted. Do not ramble and not get to your point right away. Some people may erase your message before they know what you wanted.

Next, make sure that the people who you email are actually involved in the topic and need a response from you, never reply-all.

In today's fast paced world, everyone wants their messages read before anyone else, so sending your message as urgent is a solution. However, be careful not to over use this, as eventually people will just ignore it and not reply to an urgent message when you need it most.

It is also important to provide important information of the email in the subject line, as it will make it more likely important emails are read.

Two more tips to use when emailing, is to never use ALL CAPS, this is the equivalent of shouting at someone in a face to face or phone conversation. The final tip is to never reply to an unpleasant email right away, allow you a 'cooling off' period and then reply to the email.

Even though email is now the most common form of communication, it is still important to know when another form of communication would be more appropriate.

"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."

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