Nearly three in every four emails sent is pointless or irrelevant – according to new research.
If you’ve ever felt yourself drowning in emails or a slave to your inbox you may well relate to a new online survey of 2,002 Americans that found 73 percent of the emails people receive aren’t relevant or interesting to them-if they’re even opened at all.
Respondents in the census-balanced survey from SizzleDeck estimated they receive 44 emails each day on average between work and personal accounts – and cited 32 of those emails typically aren’t worth paying attention to or require no action on their part.
That equates to over 16,000 emails in a typical year with precisely 11,680 of them deemed a waste of time.
The survey found more than half (54%) of Americans polled have real difficulty clearing their work email inbox.
But while things get lost in the inbox, sending a text is still an effective way to get attention the average respondent checks their phone 18 times during the typical working day.
Perhaps that’s why Americans are more than three times more likely to prefer to read text messages than open emails (48% v 14%).
A spokesperson for SizzleDeck said: “This survey backs up what our instincts were telling us, most people have a tonne of unread emails, but hardly anyone has an unread text message. If you want to be sure your message gets read, send it by text.”
Whether it’s texts or emails, our attention spans are dominated by our phones. In addition to the 18 phone sessions we have during our working hours, three-quarters of us admit checking our phones is the very first thing we do in the morning and the very last thing we do at night.
When not on their phones, people tend to have better attention skills in-person than they do virtually. When asked how long it would take them to mentally check out during a presentation, the average for Zoom presentations was six slides. For in-person meetings, it takes seven slides before people will start to check out.
And it’s not just the visuals but the words that really count. People have a low tolerance for work jargon, it seems. When asked what work phrases they hate the most, respondents said “per my last email” (32%), “we’re all in this together” (32%) and “blue sky thinking” (29%) rounded the top of the list.
The spokesperson for SizzleDeck added: “In pure communication terms, we find that the key to getting people to read and respond to a message is to keep it simple, keep it short and avoid clichés. The clearest communicators write the same way the talk.”
TOP WORST WORK JARGON
1. Per my last email 32%
2. We’re all in this together 32%
3. Blue sky thinking 29%
4. Did you get that thing I sent you? 28%
5. Let’s touch base 27%
6. Let’s circle back 23%
7. Can you get this to me EOD? 23%
8. Let’s table that 21%
9. Let’s get this offline 12%
The census-balanced survey of 2,002 Americans was conducted online in November 2020.