Written, Verbal, or Face to Face Communication?
Choosing the appropriate mode of communication, or appropriate modes of communication is crucial to success in project management, instructional design, and quite frankly, in most other fields as well.
A “no” said with a laugh, and a “no” said with three exclamation marks do not mean the same thing. Similarly, a message delivered in e-mail is not equal to a message delivered by voice mail, nor is that message the same when delivered face to face. Written communication is perfect for transmitting facts, dates and non-emotional, non-sensitive, fact-based communications. Voice mail escalates up the scale a notch, by adding more urgency, or enthusiasm, more inflection and emotion, and more diversity in communication. Many emotions can all be picked up in the tone that is used, and variances in mood can be detected in verbal communications. Face to face is by far the safest way to successfully communicate thoughts, ideas and needs to other people, as it is easier to see the effects of the communication, and make appropriate adjustments on the spot.
Oftentimes, more than one method of communication is necessary. It is important to “confirm in writing the important information that was shared in informal discussions” (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer & Sutton, 2008). Because the “key to successful project management is effective communication – sharing the right messages with the right people in a timely manner” (Portny et al, 2008), it is important to know and understand the audience in order to best deliver the most effective modes of communication.
The multi-media presentation “The art of effective communication” (Laureate Education, n.d.) can be summarized in my words as follows:
- E-mail is fine (if the communicator has strong writing skills)
- Voice mail is better (voice inflection helps to communicate what words cannot)
- Face to face is the best (it is the most empathetic, communicates the most, and can be adjusted immediately based on feedback from the receiving party as information is received)
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The art of effective communication [Multi-media file] Retrieved from http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/2dett4d/Walden/EDUC/6145/03/mm/aoc/index.html
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.