Friday, July 13, 2012

Communicating Effectively

To prepare for this blog post, I was asked to view the multimedia program called “The Art of Effective Communication.” It allowed me to view one message delivered in three different ways: written text (email), audio (voice mail) and face to face (video). The email example of the message is to the left.

My first impression of the email message was that Jane was rambling. One of the most important parts of effective communication is …the communication part (“5 tips for,” 2012). I was frustrated before I got to the end of the email because I felt like she was almost apologizing before she asked Mark for what she needed. Granted, I do not understand the relationship between Mark and Jane, so perhaps Jane has reason to be apologetic. I would have simply said: “Mark, when you get a chance, please send over your report data so that I can finalize my report. The deadline is coming up soon , and I need your part by the end of the week. Thanks and appreciate your help.” That is my effort to be clear about what I needed and when I needed it.
Jane’s voice mail message sounded upbeat and genuine without negative emotion. I value that because no one wants to listen to an unenthusiastic robot when picking up voicemails. This can also go a long way in helping others learn to feel comfortable around you (“5 tips for,” 2012). I still felt like she should could have been more direct in specifying what she needed, when she needed it and gave a sense of urgency. Mark likely will put her request at the bottom of the pile after hearing this voicemail.
The most effective communication medium is not to have one at all (Taylor, n.d.). Face to face conversations may not always be the most practical, but it is the most effective. The person receiving the message has the opportunity to pick up on non-verbal cues like eye movement or body language. Also, they have the opportunity to respond or ask questions directly. For me, the video or face to face communication conveyed the real meaning and intent of the message. Somehow, when I saw Jane face to face, I was could see her genuine concern for me and not wanting to interrupt me, but did get the intent that she was worried about her report and needed my help. I did not feel annoyed or frustrated by her apologetic tone and felt more willing to assist her.
This exercise showed me that face to face communication is best whenever possible. It brings a personal nature to the message intent and depending on how the message is delivered, can go a long way in getting the information or results that you need. Email and voicemail can be tools to aid in communication for important updates , but if the message is complex or urgent, then it is best delivered in person.   

5 tips for effective communciation [Web log message]. (2012, April 6). Retrieved from



  1. Hi Julie,

    An interesting interpretation, but very different from what I interpreted in my post. Granted face-to-face can be really effective, especially if there is an urgent task to be finished or a deadline to meet, but these days organizations are also adapting remote work set-up/virtual team management. And in these work environments written communication and phone are key communication mediums. What are your thoughts on communication with a blend of occasional face-to-face meetings supported by regular email/phone exchange?


  2. Julie, I thought I was interesting that so many of us perceived the messages one way, while others got an entirely different impression. When I watched the face-to-face video, I “heard” something that turned me off entirely, and gave me the impression that Jane was whiney and not very sincere about the urgency of her problem. Richards (2012) noted, “Many people jump to conclusions about the motivations of their coworkers, often attributing negative intent when none was intended. Effective peer-to-peer communications can benefit from taking time to first fully understand the other person's point-of-view by asking open-ended questions and listening--really listening--to the answers.” I might have been too quick to judge by what I saw, and didn’t listen as well to what I heard. For me, the voice mail was effective – it said everything that needed to be said, and in a tone that told me Jane was really under pressure to get her project out on time.
    ~~ Lyn
    Richards, L. (2012). Effective communication between workplace peers. Small Business Chron. Retrieved from

  3. Julie,
    Thank-you for sharing your point of view on the three modalities of communication.
    I was intrigued by your interpretation when you mentioned, "I was frustrated before I got to the end of the email because I felt like she was almost apologizing before she asked Mark for what she needed."
    I didn't pick up this cue from the email message, but this just proves that we all may not interpret messages through various modalities the same.
    Something interesting to consider is, what made the face to face communication the most effective? Was is the opportunity to interact, the smile and body language, or a combination of both?
    Burgoon, Bonito, Ramirez, Dunbar,Karadeen, & Fischer (2002). Testing the Interactivity Principle:Effects of Mediation, Propinquity, and Verbal and Nonverbal Modalities
    in Interpersonal Interaction. Retrieved on July 14th, 2012 from: