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Canadians 'Concerned' Over E-mail Appearances, Study Finds

October 17, 2007

According to a recent study conducted by Microsoft (News - Alert) Canada, Canadians say the lack of emotion in e-mails frequently causes conversations to be misinterpreted.
While more than one-quarter of Canadians say they use e-mail to conduct business, 32 per cent say they have had an e-mail misinterpreted, and 66 per cent say they need to spend time explaining the context or tone of a message to a colleague after sending.
Canadians spend at least 30 minutes a day re-reading messages to ensure tone and context are accurately communicated, the study found: “As well, 67 percent of respondents admitted that they follow-up on important e-mail messages with a phone call.”

Warren Shiau, Lead Analyst, IT Research, Strategic Counsel, said the majority of respondents “indicate they feel a need to use expressive tools like emoticons and Caps Lock in business e-mails to make sure the right message gets across.”
Reflecting a national characteristic Canadians are concerned about how their e-mails are perceived by others, with 83 percent rereading their notes before sending. 89 percent say the phone and face-to-face are more effective ways of communicating important issues.

72 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they would be more likely to call the person if they could determine whether they were available to take the call.
“This survey illustrates how difficult it has been for people to use voice communications in business. People choose e-mail because it's easy to incorporate with the way we work. How do you 'reply all' to a verbal conversation? Until today, you couldn’t,” said Bryan Rusche, Product Manager, Microsoft’s Unified Communications (News - Alert) and Collaboration.
As part of its major communications package release, Microsoft is debuting software-enabled unified communications products that “combine the efficiency of e-mail with the power of voice,” company officials say, matching voice and data with video conferencing, instant messaging and “presence” information that tells users if someone is available to chat.
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
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