Businesses are drowning beneath a sea of poorly organised, unclear writing, new research has found.
Author Josh Bernoff canvassed 547 businesspeople earlier this year and has published the results of his survey in a Harvard Business Review article.
The respondents spent an average of 25.5 hours each week reading for work, of which roughly a third was email.
"And 81 per cent of them agree that poorly written material wastes a lot of their time," Bernoff said.
"A majority say that what they read is frequently ineffective because it's too long, poorly organised, unclear, filled with jargon, and imprecise."
Bernoff, author of the new book Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean, said entry-level employees received little training in how to write in a brief, clear and incisive manner.
"Instead, they're immersed in first-draft emails from their managers, poorly edited reports, and jargon-filled employee manuals," Bernoff said. "Their own flabby writing habits fit right in. And the whole organisation drowns in productivity-draining blather."
He said fuzzy writing resulted in fuzzy thinking and clear leadership, expressed in writing, boosted productivity.
"For example, in writing email, managers from the CEO on down must set an example by communicating exactly what they want, clearly, in the subject line or title and the first two sentences of everything they write," Bernoff said.
"The workers reading it will just skip to the key facts anyway, so lose the filler and don't waste their time."