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Communicating Effectively

Understanding the different ways that we effectively communicate, interact with, and process information among all project team members, can help us observe the way we interpret the message to mean. We need to find a balance between the different modalities and which conveys the true meaning and intent of the message.

Sample piece of communication in three different modalities

I know you have been busy and possible in that all day meeting today, but I really need an ETA on the missing report. Because your report contains data I need to finish my report, I might miss my own deadline if I don’t get your report soon. Please let me know when you think you can get your report sent over to me, or even if you can send the data I need in a separate email.

I really appreciate your help.

Jane

I will reflect on the three different modalities: as written text, as audio, and as video.

Email (Written Text)

As I reflect on the written text through email, I could only process a visual depiction of what was being said by the writer while writing her thoughts. It appears that Jane confronted this individual more than once without actually upsetting him. Moreover, I believe her first mode of communication was actually face to face. Though not intimidated by this individual, see uses an approach that blends thought, emotion and action to express her feelings through an email.

Voicemail (Phone)

As I reflect on communication through voicemail, Jane’s tone appears to have a sense of urgency, power and strength. With clear communication, it was understood that it is imperative that this individual respond immediately to this matter. Her use of expression was communicated by the use of expressive words such as, “I really need an ETA on the missing report,” and “I might miss my own deadline if I don’t get your report soon.” Recognizing these expressions, really prompt an individual to respond sooner than later.

Face to Face

As I reflect on communication through face to face, it appears to be the most effective approach. She is able to capture the interest of this individual interest and immediate action. Follow-up is not as hard or challenging and involves persistence. This project illustrates a collaborative teamwork and effort on the part of each individual. Being able to express oneness in the same environment promotes effective communication and the eagerness to meet the deadline.

How did your interpretation of the message change from one modality to the next?

Each message, going from auditory to visual became more pertinent and critical to individual responsibility. An email usually doesn’t express the true essence of time sensitive responses in same manner as the natural voice. Moreover, the natural voice as well as the emotion and physical gestures in face to face communication must convey the urgency necessary for the desired response.

What factors influenced how you perceived the message?

I am all too familiar with all three modalities in the workplace. What influenced my perception was the tone that appears to be cooperative but yet frustrated by noncommunitive stakeholders. It is obvious that this individual is a very busy person but in this situation lacked basic team player communication qualities.

Which form of communication best conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message?

Although it is not always possible to communicate through email on important matters, the value of face to face communication within your organization and with your clients should not go unrecognized. Email is instant and allows for an efficient exchange of information. But so does voicemail and face to face. Face to face communication also builds trust and minimizes the possibility of misunderstandings and misinterpretation. When using voicemail, we don’t have facial expressions or body language to help us express the message, so we must focus on every word being said, and the tone of voice that is being used. We compensate for the absence of nonverbal cues by adding more weigh to the words being said and the tone of voice being used.

Face to face communication still remains the best and most complete way of conveying the true meaning and intent of the message.

What are the implications of what you learned from this exercise for communicating effectively with members of a project team?

Depending on your relationship with individuals within your organization, at times your situational project needs may seem as little of no importance. Using various forms of communication may yield an immediate response from stakeholder. It is imperative that we identify with the various personalities and be able to choose which modality is effective for each.

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One comment on “Communicating Effectively

  1. Hello,

    I’m always shocked by email communications mostly becasue, “the lack of tonal and non-verbal cues have made email and IM a haven for misinterpreted statements and flame wars”. (Yang, 2006)

    Honestly, I find it amazing how unprofessional some people can be with email.

    I have found that face to face or direct phone conversations give the best emotional connection and clearest interpretation of the message.

    I also find a great resource for how to write an un-angry email.

    http://www.ehow.com/how_4455946_write-unangry-email.html

    Reference:
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060213/1558206.shtml

    Thanks,
    Rob

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