As a class, we were asked to view the multimedia program “The Art of Effective Communication.” In this program, we observed a piece of communication in three different modalities: as written text, as audio, and as video. After receiving the communication in each modality, we are to reflect upon what we interpret the message to mean. Record your interpretation of the message after receiving it in each modality. Each of the messages in the three modalities the message was the same. However, the way the message was conveyed determined how I interpreted the tone and importance of the message.
Email: The email was straight forward and clear, however the tone of the email is open to personal interpretation. As each person reads an email, they apply a tone to what they are reading whether it is correct or not. You can interpret an email as hostile when it is not, or not important because you cannot hear the importance in the persons voice. In addition, emails can be missed, ignored or forgotten. Something that is important like this should really be addressed in person or over the phone.
The voice mail was also straight forward and clear. The voicemail provided the opportunity for the recipient to hear the importance in the voice of the person leaving the message. There is less of a chance for personal interpretation. There is still a risk leaving a voicemail because the recipient does not necessarily have to listen to their voicemail in any particular time frame. Therefore they might miss the fact that this is needed as soon as possible.
Face to Face
Face to face is the best option to get a clear message across in a timely manner. Especially since this matter is urgent, a face to face meeting provides the opportunity to display the importance of the conversation, the immediate need for what is being asked, and there is no possibility of missing deadlines or misunderstandings.
Then reflect upon the experience by considering the following:
- How did your interpretation of the message change from one modality to the next? I understand the message from one modality to the next, but I was able see the positives and negatives in each one. Face to face is the most effective form of communication. The true meaning of the conversation was able to come through with less personal interpretations when I could hear the voice.
- What factors influenced how you perceived the message? The delivery style of the message influenced how I perceived the message and the importance behind it. Emails, though valuable because they can be time stamped and marked, are easily ignored, deleted and misunderstood. Voicemails are better than emails because you can feel as if the request is considered valid and important, but still lacks the sense of urgency but a face to face meeting demonstrates to me that it this was important.
- Which form of communication best conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message? Face to Face communication is the most effective form of communication. This provides the opportunity for eye contact and tone of voice. It is difficult to ignore and argue in person, and you will clearly receive the message and you have the opportunity to ask questions.
- What are the implications of what you learned from this exercise for communicating effectively with members of a project team? As a project manager you have to be able to communicate clearly and effectively to your team. By holding face to face meetings you build relationships with your team, foster communication, and allow for discussion. If you are not directly engaged with your team you risk losing information and missing deadlines. Good communication skills will ensure good project outcomes.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). “The Art of Effective Communication”
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.