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October 28, 2019 Monday 01:03:29 PM IST

Face to Face Communication Easier Than Sending Long Emails

Photo by Rawpixel from Pixabay

It is impossible to read more than a couple of emails a day unless the whole day is spent reading them, according to Prof Erik Reichle, Head of the Department of Psychology at Macquarie University.
Computational modeling, eye-movement experiment and other methods are used to understand the perceptual, cognitive and motor processes involved in reading. Prof Reichle's research shows that it takes 150-300 milliseconds to identify words and 150 milliseconds to program eye movements. The maximum reading speed that can be attained is 300-400 words a minute. It is therefore difficult to read more than a few long emails per day and hence we develop heuristics wherein we look at who sent the email or the title to decide whether to read or ignor. Heuristics are problem-solving tactics that use a practical method that is not guaranteed to be optimal, or even rational.

Within an organisation it is better for people to talk to each other rather than sending long emails. Words have to be chosen carefully while writing emails and it has to be concise. It is better to avoid email chains that are confusing to the receivers and confine work emails to work hours.

It is better to keep set times to read and respond to emails to improve productivity rather than checking inbox everytime an email drops.