As I viewed “The Art of Effective Communication,” I was reminded that one form of communication is never enough. Our days at work are filled with meetings. Some days there is barely enough time to eat lunch. When communicating a message, it is always best to do it face-to-face. There is less chance for misinterpretation (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). However, in a workplace face-to-face contact may be forgotten before the work is completed. Therefore, best practice is to communicate important messages via face-to-face contact and follow the meeting with written communication.
The first form of communication presented was email. This is a very important form of communication as over 60 billion emails are sent each day (Rockefeller Archive Center, 2006). However, this email was inappropriate to a corporate setting. It began with the salutation Hi. When sending company email, one should use a formal heading and closing (Rockefeller Archive Center, 2006). Additionally, the subject of this email was unclear and the message was not concise. When sending company email, it is important to keep the message brief and to the point (Rockefeller Archive Center, 2006). I also recommend using the subject line to delineate the missing report by name, including the high importance exclamation and a read receipt. Most of the time, project managers do not know if the intended audience read it (Portney, et. al, 2008). A read receipt will allow the sender to know when the email was read. This can also be used for documentation later if necessary (Rockefeller Archive Center, 2006).
The second form of communication presented was a voicemail. In our current environment, this is the least desirable form of communication. In fact, many organizations (including my own) now forward voicemail to email. Voicemail leaves ambiguity and has no way for the sender to verify that the recipient ever received it. If you decide to leave a voicemail, there are some important things to consider. In the example, the voicemail was less than 30 seconds which was good. However, it was definitely not scripted. It sounded like she was not sure what to say next. When leaving a voicemail, there are a few important guidelines. First, script what you are going to say (Cherry, 2013). Keep it short and communicate your availability. It is best practices to give a timeframe to reach you (Cherry, 2013). Instead of saying, I know you are busy or I need this report so that I do not miss my deadline, try I have completed my portion of the report. I simply need to input your data. Benchmarking your progress is a great way to demonstrate that you are working hard as well and ease the tension of asking for an overdue report.
The final method of communication was face-to-face. There are several important things to consider when delivering a message in person. First, use the appropriate greeting and make sure you are calm. Blurting out the message can cause miscommunication (Howard, 2007). These things were done well in the example. However, the speaker should choose words carefully to create a concise simple message (Howard, 2007). This was not done. At the end of the conversation, I felt like it was not important to complete the work she was asking for. Her nonverbal communication was very relaxed and friendly. This did not convey the importance of her words. She also did not receive a new timeline. It is important that she not leave the conversation without an answer. Finally, when engaging in face-to-face communication, it is important to confirm in writing what was discussed in person (Portney, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer & Sutton, 2008). This gives you documentation of the conversation and helps to remind the parties of deadlines.
Overall, communication is the most important thing that you do in the workplace. While I interpreted all three modalities similarly, this is not the case for every communication. Each modality has specific features that need to be recognized. For example, an email’s tone is determined by the use of capitalization and sentence structure. A voicemail is interpreted by the tone and pauses. A face-to-face interaction is typically interpreted via the nonverbal signals. When communicating, it is important to utilize the guidelines and be aware of your unintended messages. As a project manager or an instructional designer you rely on other people to complete portions of the project. Using these simple guidelines will help ensure your timely completion of projects.
Cherry, P. (2013). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.pbresults.com/sales-article/8-simple-rules-for-leaving-compelling-voicemail-messages.html
Howard, D. (2007). Basic guidelines for interpersonal communication (onsite and distance). Retrieved from http://www.dianehoward.com/Dr_Howard_Guidelines_Effective_Interpersonal_Communication.htm
Laureate Education, Inc., (2010). Communicating with Stakeholders. [Web]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_3398237_1%26url%3D
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.
Rockefeller Archive Center. (2006). E-mail guidelines for managers and employees. Retrieved from Collaborative Electronics Project website: http://www.rockarch.org/CERP/pdf/emailguidelines.pdf