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Words Used in Email Can Predict Sender's Work Hierarchy

Sure, there are words you would never write to your boss, but people below you. But would you believe that the phrase below are indicative for an email to be sent downward?

- have you been
- you gave
- we are in
- title
- need in

And the use of the phrases below points to an email that was sent to your boss?

- the ability to
- I took
- are available
- kitchen
- thought you would

Researchers at GeorgiaTech believe they have found prove for this claim when they examined are portion of 500,000 emails sent by 150 former Enron employees.

“Across a wide variety of messages and relationships, these phrases consistently stand out as signaling a power relationship between two people,” said Eric Gilbert, assistant professor in the School of Interactive Computing. “The probability of it occurring due to chance alone is less than 1 in 1,000.

Gilbert said that the results you lead to the development of smarter email software. For example, email software could automatically predict a subset of possible recipients of an email and simplify the selection of recipients. Email messages could also get scheduling features: "Post-5 pm messages from people under you, for example, might get held for delivery until the next day, while emails from the boss—or the boss’ assistant—could go right through," the scientists said.

The entire list of phrases enabling reliable predictions is published in a paper published by Eric Gilbert.