New research by the company suggests that businesses’ growing dependence on email, texting and “emeetings” are eroding vital interpersonal skills and jeopardising sustainable long-term relationships, credibility and trust.

Positive Performance’s chief executive, Wendy Chalmers Mill said: “More than three billion emails and 57 billion text messages are being sent each year, with the result that workers, at all levels, are losing the ability to communicate effectively.

“The feedback from every communication course I have run emphasises that staff are getting increasingly frustrated.”

Chalmers Mill cited the experience of Perth & Kinross Council which employed Positive Performance to improve internal working practices. A council spokesperson said: “We used Positive Performance to improve our customer service and communication in our IT department and the feedback is that it is essential to re-evaluate the way relationships – both internally and externally – are formed by the method of communication.”

Positive Performance stresses that, when used correctly, emails add to the communication process and can support business and improve efficiency. The firm recommends that email should be reserved for logistics, system, and non-personal communications. When the communication is personal and, therefore, frequently misunderstood, then the phone or face-to-face contact is essential.

Behavioural scientists have found that words make up only 8% of all communication, 34% is intonation and tone of voice, and over 58% is non-verbal, including body language.