Yes, it seems almost everyone agrees that poor email skills are a problem. We all love to complain about it. And yet, the thought that we can—and should—do something about it usually isn’t on the radar until I bring it up.
A project manager at a Fortune 500 company told me he was working with one of his direct reports on communication skills. However, until I reached out to him to do research for my business, he hadn’t even thought about the written communication skills – like email. As we talked, I could practically see the giant lightbulb turn on over his head.
I also recently spoke with an HR professional at a Fortune 200 company. After raving about my business, she told me that email etiquette didn’t even come close to the radar when she and the company president discussed training courses. When I asked her why email wasn’t top of mind, she replied that, in essence, email was too specific. Too much of a niche in the communication spectrum.
I’ll admit, her comment bummed me out for a second. But then I remembered a few stats:
- Business users, on average, send and receive 126 emails per day. We receive about 88 and send about 38 – and these numbers are only projected to go up. (Radicati Group)
- We spend about 28% of our workday on email-related tasks. (McKinsey) If you work a 40-hour week (laughable, I know), that means you’re spending almost a day and a half each week just on email.
- It takes an average of 64 seconds to recover from an email interruption. (Danwood Group) Imagine if 15 of those 88 emails you received were an interruption. That means you’re losing over 15 minutes a day just recovering from those distractions. Time totally wasted. Time you could have used to get a cup of coffee, come up with a brilliant idea, or read some articles on improving your email skills. The loss adds up.
For something that’s supposedly too specific, email sure is consuming a lot of our work day!
So here’s the secret – if you want an edge, then start focusing on your email skills. I’m telling you – it’s the thing in front of our faces that everyone is ignoring. Meanwhile, it’s a critical component of how you build your personal brand, get stuff done, and strengthen relationships in the office.
Not sure where to start? Read this. And if you agree, disagree, or have some perspective to share, please leave a note in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!