The Art of Effective Communication
In the Art of Effective Communication, from one modality to the next, the tone of the message was conveyed with a little more meaning. At first, the message was composed of just words and would make it easy to dismiss or consider marking it to read later before anything would be done about it. As I heard the next message in a voicemail, I started to analyze the tone in the person’s voice to determine what the sense of urgency might be for me. What approach could I take to get her what she needed and how long would it take for me to stop what I’m currently doing and respond to her needs? The face-to-face conversation had the most impact out of the three conversations. Being face-to-face with someone allows you to read verbal and non-verbal cues and really grasp the meaning behind their message and the sense of urgency that is required. As a project manager, there are many aspects of a project that must be managed and various stakeholders that need to be kept informed about their progress. As a project can have drivers, supporters and observers that the project manager must consider how and when to get them involved in the project, as they come involved, throughout the project the manager needs to determine how to communicate with them. Considering the examples in the video that offered three variations of a conversation, a good rule of thumb to remember is that text does not convey tone, so before constructing that email to stakeholders, one should consider the context of the message, the purpose of the communication and if what needs to be conveyed is going to be best served with the chosen medium. If the message is meant to provide an update to a list of tasks that have been completed, then perhaps email would be the best vehicle for that information. If the project manager is experiencing scope creep and the project is going to be delayed by a couple of weeks, then that would be the type of information that should be delivered face-to-face to help them understand exactly why there is a delay. After the meeting, if voicemail was used to follow up on the meeting to re-enforce the notion of their efforts to produce a quality product within budget close to the deadline, then leaving a message on voice mail would be acceptable.
You presented excellent points as relates to the reasons for using various modalities of communication. You referenced important ideas when you made the following statement; “one should consider the context of the message, the purpose of the communication and if what needs to be conveyed is going to be best served with the chosen medium.” It would seem to be a temptation for a project manager to apply a singular means of communication he or she feels most comfortable. However, as you mentioned the email in this context could fail to communicate any sense of urgency.
I agree, the face-to-face video had the most impact for me as well. Not only were you able to understand the message through the words only, but also the tone, facial expression and body language helped convey the urgency and importance of the message. I think the art of relaying messages clearly as well as interpret messages effectively can be useful not only in Project Management, but in all areas of life.