Thursday, September 22, 2011

Communicating Effectively

My textbook states that communication is "sharing the right messages with the right people in a timely manner" (Portny, 2008). So the assignment this week was to look at the same message being presented in three different way; email, voicemail and in person. Of course without even looking at the presentation I knew that face-to-face was going to be the best answer. After reading a bunch of different articles this week that talked about communication, face-to-face with a follow up email is the safest bet. But this little module really sent the message home!

The site took the same message and gave it to you in an email, voicemail and with a video of someone saying it right to you. When I first read the email it started off with a nice tone checking to see if the recipient was still in a meeting and quickly shifted gears to an aggressive manner with full disregard to the well being of the recipient. (This is why I always tell people to be careful what you text, because tone is very hard to read).
The voicemail sounded much more pleasant than the email read. But it still came across a little hard towards the end. But the major difference was that the last line of the voicemail said "I really appreciate your help." Now when I read the 9 line email I didn't even notice this last sentence, and looking back it had its own line and everything. I think I was too frustrated by reading the intense message that I didn't even read the final line, it just looked like a closing remark. It made me reflect on all the times I have written a hard to swallow message and ended with a kind remark to soften the blow, and wonder how many people actually read the last line.
I was so blown away by my new discovery with the voicemail I felt there could not possibly be that big of a difference with the in person message. Wrong again! People's mannerism speak volumes, many more volumes than their words or tone of voice. After listening to the woman speak the lines I have just read and heard mere second before, I have a completely different feeling about the message. Her stance, smile and casual eye contact made all the difference in the world.  It didn't feel aggressive at all, in fact had I really been the fictitious recipient I would have happily finished up my portion of the project.

Communication is not just words, it is also spirit and attitude, tonality and body language, timing and consideration of the personality of the recipient (Stolovitch, n.d.). The importance of these different elements of communication were definitely displayed in this exercise. This 5 minute module really brought the true value of communication to light. In a similar situation I would have quickly shot out an email to get my person back on task and not thought for a minute to communicate my needs in a different way. But I now know that a little leg work and a smile can go a much longer way.


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.

Stolovitch, Harold. (n.d.). Communicating with Stakeholders. Retrieved on September 21, 2011 at

1 comment:

  1. Danielle:

    Your analysis of the three modes of communication is comprehensive, well organized, and thought provoking. You said that at some point in reading the email, you became “too frustrated by reading the intense message that I didn't even read the final line”. In my post, I described my feelings as detached/disconnected. In retrospect, I can honestly say that I felt some resistance to something in the email, and I had no intentions of responding to it any time in the near future. Thus, the message was lost. Goleman (2007) of the New York Times noted that “there are no online channels for the multiple signals the brain uses to calibrate emotion” (p. 1). Further, the empathy and emotional rapport which can develop between persons engaged in face-to-face conversations are dismally lacking in email and other written correspondence. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why they are so often misinterpreted.
    Thanks again for an interesting and inspiring post.

    Goleman, D., (2007, October7). Email is easy to write (and to misread. New York Times. Retrieved September, 21, 2100, from