Friday, September 19, 2014

Communicating Effectively

Effective communication is an ongoing process of sharing information. It is essential to clearly express ideas to others and to understand what other people are saying to you. Effective communication leads to trust and mutual respect. “The ability to communicate well both orally and in writing is a critical skill” (Portny, 2008, p. 357). Communication methods should vary based on the message intent. Some messages can be sent via e-mail or voicemail whereas others are best served as a face-to-face conversation, when possible.

In the multimedia program, “The Art of Effective Communication”, one message is conveyed in audio, video, and written text format. The tone and urgency of the message changes in each format as you internalize what the sender is communicating. Effective listening skills and visual cues play a significant role in interpreting the audio and video messages while the written text leaves a lot to the imagination. I feel that the face-to-face communication relays the true message of the sender’s intent. Although it did not happen in this example, face-to-face communication provides an opportunity for the receiver to ask questions, clarify understanding of the message, and visually interpret the sender’s tone, inflection, and body language.

The following points express my interpretation of each mode of communication:

E-mail: In this example, my perception is that this is an urgent matter that only I can deliver on. The sender seems genuinely concerned about meeting a deadline that has serious consequences. The sender respects my current workload but my lack of urgency could potentially damage our business relationship. In this situation, I would act on this request expediently as I would not want to negatively impact my business partner’s assignment.

Voicemail: The business partner’s voicemail adds more urgency to the situation because I can hear the stressed tone and inflection in her voice. The business partner still seems genuinely concerned about meeting the deadline, but does not come across as rude or aggressive. There is still a mutual level of respect with this business relationship and I would definitely react quickly to ensure it stays that way.

Face-to-face: The face-to-face interaction puts me at ease a little more than the previous examples. Although the business partner is expressing concern about meeting the deadline, the visual representation shows that the business partner is relaxed and even smiling as she speaks. Her body language reflects understanding and professional courtesy as it feels like we know each other pretty well. This removes the stressful sense of urgency on my end. Even though I would still want to deliver the data quickly, this interaction makes me feel like I have a little more time before the matter becomes extremely serious.

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  1. By the way I'm going to start following your post.

    Good analysis of the various types of communication, I liked when you mentioned the different urgency in the persons email and voice. During the f2f conversation I could tell that the data was important to her as well and I would want to get it to her as soon as I can. You did mentioned that f2f you get feedback right away. While using email or calling the person back you might have a delay of getting feedback from her.

  2. Great observations Jenea. Your point that communication should indeed vary based on message intent was a big takeaway for me as it asserts that we should be deliberate about what mode of communication we choose. Outlining some points that need addressing by another team member? Email may be the best fit here. Getting some clarity over an issue bought up in a meeting? Perhaps face to face would be best to make sure there are no lingering questions.