A press release from Robert Half International, the parent company of OfficeTeam, said executive preference for face-to-face meetings dropped from 44% in 1997 to 31% in 2007. Only 3% of executives surveyed said they preferred a paper memo for communication.
Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam, noted in the release that e-mail can be convenient and provide historical context, but it comes at a price, as messages can get lost in the shuffle.
To ensure messages are well-received, OfficeTeam offered these five tips in the release:
- Make it clear – State the purpose for the message upfront 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 being addressed.
- Keep it brief – Do not expect others to read a long message or e-mail chain. Forward the background information, 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.
The survey was developed by OfficeTeam and conducted by an independent research firm, and includes interviews with 150 senior executives at the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.