Irvine, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/9/2006 -- Here’s the dirty little secret about e-mail that no one wants to talk about: most American workers have poor writing skills. Blame it on the schools, blame it on TV, blame it on whatever you want, but the ugly truth is that we have a serious problem on our hands.
The results of a 2004 survey by the National Commission on Writing conclude that “One-third of the employees in the nation’s blue-chip companies wrote poorly and those businesses were spending as much as $3.1 billion annually on remedial training.”
A 2005 National Commission on Writing survey of human resource directors who oversee nearly 2.7 million state government employees showed similar dismal results. “Although 70% of state managers said large majorities of their professional employees had adequate skills, just one-third said clerical and support staff did. The report estimates the states spend $221 million annually on remedial writing training.”
Poorly written e-mails waste time and cost companies millions of dollars in lost productivity. According to Information Mapping, 65% of workers waste 1 to 3 hours per day reading and writing e-mails. One British company estimated it wastes over $39 million a year to have employees write and read unnecessary e-mails.
Time wasting e-mails are basically the result of employees not knowing how to compose well organized e-mail and not knowing how to clearly present their message. Critical information is missing, or the message rambles on and is too wordy. The e-mail recipient is confused and doesn’t know how to reply.
Internet writing expert Michelle Howe understands the problems companies face. Her company, InternetWordMagic.com, specializes in improving online communication. Her E-Mail Productivity System™ is a customized training program that covers the issues of business writing, e-mail etiquette, e-mail security and the liabilities of e-mail.
According to Howe, “I can tell you from first-hand experience that employees desperately want this training and are grateful to get the knowledge they need to do their jobs better. For most employees, it has been a long time since they have been in school and they have forgotten quite a bit of what they learned. My pre-test scores show the employees are unable to answer basic grammar and writing questions. Pre-test scores usually show a failure rate of 78 to 100%. After training, the employees’ post-test scores are often a remarkable zero to 10% failure rate. They want to learn and they do learn.”
Poor writing skills may be the symptom, but the disease is poor communication. Having a written e-mail policy in place is not enough. All employees (including management) need on-going e-policy education that teaches them business writing skills, correct e-mail etiquette and the consequences involved when using e-mail inappropriately.
For additional information about Word Magic’s customized E-Mail Productivity System™ training, please visit www.InternetWordMagic.com.
About Michelle Howe:
Michelle Howe, MBA, president of Word Magic, is an expert in online copywriting and has years of experience teaching business writing at the university level. She is the author of “Web Site Writing Made Easy” and “Persuasive Writing Made Easy.” On February 8, 2006 she’ll be presenting a free teleclass, E-Mail Marketing 101. To register: http://www.internetwordmagic.com/teleclasses.htm