Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Enigma of Silence

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article today on the Email Enigma: When the Boss's Reply Seems Cryptic.  Here's a key excerpt:
The number of emails sent or received daily by the typical corporate employee is expected to rise to 136 by 2017 from 121 this year, based on projections released last November by the Radicati Group, a Palo Alto, Calif., market-research firm. Managers, who receive the most, are "flooded by email," says Nancy Ancowitz, a New York business communications coach. Many a manager multitasks to get through it all, "emailing from a mobile device at a stoplight, typing with his thumbs," Ms. Ancowitz says. 
Some bosses don't answer at all. Nearly one-third of 700 employees surveyed by researchers at Florida State University said their bosses had given them "the silent treatment" in the preceding year, according to the 2006 study.
The article is pitched as a corporate problem, but the congestion of inboxes (and its associated problems) is not limited to the business world.  A number of my busiest colleagues prefer to be short and to the point in e-mail, and for the same reason as the article cites -- many of them receive 100 to 150 e-mails per day.
The entire article is worth a read, if you have the time.  As for me, I better get back to responding to e-mail.