Effective communication Featured

7:00pm EDT February 24, 2008

Daily communication among employees can come in many forms, but more executives prefer e-mail over other communication methods.

A recent survey conducted by OfficeTeam showed that 65 percent of 150 executives surveyed preferred e-mail communication over other forms. This compares to 34 percent of executives who preferred e-mail in a similar survey conducted in 1997.

The survey also showed that 31 percent of executives prefer face-to-face meetings, while 3 percent prefer paper memos and 1 percent prefer voice mail.

“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 co-workers and business colleagues,” says Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in the placement of administrative professionals.

E-mail may be preferred, but executives receive an overwhelming amount of e-mail each day, so it’s easy for messages to get overlooked. OfficeTeam offers these five tips to avoid having your message lost in the shuffle.

  • Make it clear. State your purpose upfront and follow it with details, so important points will show up in the recipient’s e-mail viewing pane.

  • Avoid copying everyone. Only forward messages to those directly involved with the topic, and don’t hit “reply all” if others don’t need to read your response.

  • Keep it brief. Don’t expect others to read a long message or e-mail chain. If the background information is important, forward it, but provide a brief summary rather than saying “see below.”

  • Don’t cry wolf. Only mark a message urgent when it is truly critical that it be read 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.

Domeyer also says that face-to face-communication or a phone call can help accomplish tasks more quickly.

“When people find themselves spending time searching for precisely the right words, it’s often a sign that the topic warrants an in-person discussion,” she says. <<

HOW TO REACH: OfficeTeam, (800) 804-8367 or www.officeteam.com