E-Mail Replacing Face-to-Face Communication, Survey Shows

In today’s fast-paced corporate world, who has time to convene in person when you can "hit send"? In a new survey of executives, 92 percent of respondents say managers often send an e-mail message rather than meet one-on-one.

The survey was commissioned by Accountemps and was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 executives with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked, "In your opinion, how often do managers use e-mail messages as a substitute for face-to-face communications?" Their responses:

Very often 67%
Somewhat often 25%
Not very often 7%
Don’t know 1%

Executives also were asked, "Aside from face-to-face communication, which of the following is the most effective way to communicate with employees?" Their responses:

E-mail 43%
Telephone 31%
Videoconferences 20%
Written memos 5%
Don’t know 1%

"For busy managers, e-mail is the next best thing to meeting in person," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. But while this form of communication is efficient, Messmer cautions against using it exclusively. "Face-to-face meetings reduce the potential for miscommunication, allowing individuals to share ideas and feedback with the benefit of vocal inflections, facial expressions and body language."

Messmer advises managers to choose the medium appropriate for the message. "If the topic will involve debate or requires reaching a group consensus, arrange a meeting or conference call to address the matter," he said. "For one-way communication or inquiries requiring little discussion, e-mail may be the most effective and timely vehicle."


Accountemps has more than 325 offices throughout North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and offers online job search services at www.accountemps.com.

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