Too many messages can mean a failure to communicate
May 27, 1998
by Stewart Deck
(IDG) -- It will come as little surprise to office workers to learn that messaging has changed the way they do their daily tasks. But Pitney Bowes, Inc. has actually quantified just how swamped with correspondence corporate America is becoming.
A new study from the Stamford, Connecticut based provider of mail and messaging management tools has turned up the fact that 72% of workers surveyed said they regularly work with people who aren't in the office and thus have to count on messaging of one type or another to get their points across.
"It has come to the point where a worker's goal for the day is try to conscientiously respond to all the messages that have accumulated, and react to the new messages coming in -- but the goal always proves elusive," said Meredith Fischer, vice president of corporate marketing at Pitney Bowes.
How do you like your messages?The average worker -- and this definition includes staffers ranging from clerks in administrative positions to executives -- sends or receives 190 messages per day and is interrupted by messages at least three times an hour. That deluge comes in various ways, via snail mail, phone, voice mail, fax and e-mail, the report said.
But even with this flood, more 20% of those surveyed said that information didn't flow freely among co-workers in different departments. And, they added, repeated attempts to break through the deluge only devalued the messages they sent.
According to the survey -- "Pitney Bowes' Workplace Communications in the 21st Century" -- the single most important change workers can make to be more effective communicators is to ask the intended recipient how they prefer to receive information. Close to half of those asked said they have difficulty with messages sent to them in a nonpreferred form.
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