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connecting numbers...
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At church this morning, both the reading and the sermon quoted from a Christian Science Monitor article on e-mail misunderstandings. This part drew laughter from the congregation:

To avoid miscommunication, e-mailers need to look at what they write from the recipient's perspective, Epley says. One strategy: Read it aloud in the opposite way you intend, whether serious or sarcastic. If it makes sense either way, revise.

The sermon cited figures depicted in the graph that's shown with the article. For instance,

How often people think they've communicated something clearly via e-mail: 78%
How often people think they've interpreted something correctly via e-mail: 89%
Percenage of correct interpretations: 56%

The sample issue of Office Professional I received a week or so ago had several intriguing claims as well. In a sidebar on "Keeping problems in perspective," readers were told, "Research shows that 85 percent of what we worry about doesn't happen, and that a large percent of the other 15% can be changed or improved by taking some action." (No footnote citing the research, though.) In another sidebar (quoting Jan Lewis of National Seminars), readers are advised that "Eighty percent of papers filed are never looked at again."

(And with that, I'm going to toss the issue into the recycling box and take a nap. And then maybe I'll do some filing...)

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