Say What?!

communication

In this week’s Project Management blog post, we were asked to view “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. We were then asked to reflect upon what we interpreted the message to mean.

The characters of this media piece are Jane and Mark. Jane’s character utilized three different modalities to communicate the message to Mark’s character. The first modality was written communication in the form of an email message. In the message Jane seemed to do a lot of assuming on Mark’s part as she began by saying “I know you have been busy and possibly in that all day meeting today, but I really need an ETA on the missing report”. In my opinion Jane has not only made assumptions on Marks’s behalf but she seems to be putting the pressure of her deadline on his shoulders, by suggesting that “Because your report contains data I need to finish my report, I might miss my own deadline”.

The tone in this email message came across to me as being demanding and maybe even a bit rude. If I were Mark on the receiving end of this email, I am not certain how quick I would be to get the report over to Jane or at least have a few words with her prior to delivering it.

In the second example Jane leaves Mark a voicemail message. The message overall seemed a bit better than the misunderstood email message from earlier but it still lacked a certain personalization. The message was the same but this time Jane’s tone was abrupt, put off and perhaps even a little disrespectful. I am sure that was not the intention of Jane’s message but as someone on the receiving end of that phone message. I am not certain that I would be very quick in responding to Jane’s needs. I might even find myself once again having a conversation with Jane about her approach or at the very least ask for clarification face to face.

Which brings me to the final modality. Jane uses face-to face conversation with Mark’s character in the final scenario. A much preferred method in my opinion. In the face-to-face interaction with Mark, Jane appears much sincerer in her request, her body language is very open and approachable with no confrontational tone what so ever. Janes message is very clear and concise with no need for added interpretation of the overall message.

Jane’s character in this scenario presented as genuine and helpful. In fact, I kept waiting for her to offer assistance to Mark in completing the report etc. It is so important when speaking to other team members whether it be via email, phone, voice message, text or face to face that you be clear in the message and that you remain professional, and courteous with all interactions.

I currently work as instructional designer for a company that is based all over the world, the main office in Oklahoma City. This being said, as a remote professional it is imperative that all of my communications with other team members be professional, sincere and courteous but that my message also be clear and concise. Messages can be misinterpreted. It is important that I be conscious about my email etiquette (Never send a message with all capital letters in the message, never use red font color, don’t be too wordy in your message, don’t use too many exclamation marks in your message and always, always read the message prior to sending it out to ensure that the message is appropriate, professional and follows all rules.

The same etiquette needs to be used when you are also video conferencing with stakeholders and team members. You need to be conscious of your body language, make certain that once again your message is clear and concise. Make certain that there are no outside distractions whether that be noise from outside influences (Television, children, spouses, animals etc.) that you have muted your line when not being addressed and that you are courteous of others when they are speaking and presenting. The same could be said for leaving voice messages. Clear and concise messages, no rambling or outside distractors that may impede the overall voice message.

In closing the preferred method of communicating with team members is always going to be face-to-face but with many team members working all over the world, this may not always be the easiest method. Nonetheless it is imperative that we always make a conscious effort to be polite, concise and professional in all of our communication whether it be with team members, stakeholders or anyone else. Getting your message across the right way is imperative to the success of working as a team and the success of the overall project outcomes.

Resource:

Multimedia Program: “The Art of Effective Communication”

 

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8 thoughts on “Say What?!

  1. Hi Robine,

    In response to: “The same etiquette needs to be used when you are also video conferencing with stakeholders and team members. You need to be conscious of your body language, make certain that once again your message is clear and concise. Make certain that there are no outside distractions whether that be noise from outside influences (Television, children, spouses, animals etc.) that you have muted your line when not being addressed and that you are courteous of others when they are speaking and presenting. The same could be said for leaving voice messages” (Lunkwitz, 2016).

    I agree with your statement. The communication could be through informal or formal channels.
    Project managers should always intend to conduct themselves in a professional and friendly manner. Communication is key and how it is done really can affect the flow of project and the relationships with the stakeholders. Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton, & Kramer (2008) said, Whatever form communications take, however, project managers should plan and prepare so their messages are received and correctly interpreted by project audiences (P. 367).

    References:

    Lunkwitz, R. (2016), Blog Assignment: Communicating Effectively, Walden University.

    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.

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  2. Hi Robine,

    We had completely different opinions on the multimedia pieces.
    I thought that Jane was courteous and respectful in the email and the voice message. I felt she was considerate of how busy Mark must be, but at the same time she needed for him to complete his assignment so that she could complete hers. Jane’s face to face communication was quite different from her other forms of communication.

    There is an article called, Importance of Communication in an Organization, in the online Management Study Guide. The author states that effective communication “promotes motivation” …and “plays a crucial role in altering individual’s attitudes, i.e., a well-informed individual will have better attitude than a less-informed individual.” (n.a., n.d.) I thought that was an interesting statement.

    Thanks, Lillian

    Reference:
    MSG Management Study Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.managementstudyguide.com/importance-of-communication.htm

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  3. Robine,

    I do agree that face to face communication is often the best way to relay information such as this. It is more personable, less easy to misinterpret, and ensures that the message will be received immediately. In the case of email or voicemail, messages can often be overlooked or forgotten, and dishonest employees may even ignore them and claim ignorance. By approaching someone in person, this can be avoided, and the other individual can immediately work to remedy the situation.

    I think it important to add that while face to face communication is certainly unrivaled in terms of direct, immediate communication, it is not automatically the best form of communication for every situation. As you pointed out, it is not always feasible with more and more long distance working relationships becoming the norm. Also, schedules often prevent this, as do personalities of the stakeholders. Many stakeholders prefer email or phone over in-person communication for various reasons, and it is important to take into account their preferred method. Last, but not least, written communication is not to be beat when it comes to ensuring that someone receives a complete message and is able to refer back to it if there is a disagreement about what was said.

    Thank you for your post! I enjoyed reading it. And I love the comic, ha!

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  4. I agree that face-to-face is often the form of communication that is least likely to be misinterpreted. In face-to-face communication, both participants can easily gain clarification or ask questions. However, as mentioned, in today’s society and the fact that many of us are teleworking, we often do not have that opportunity. You mentioned the importance of ‘not being too wordy’ in your email and voicemail message. I couldn’t agree more. I think we often try to explain ourselves rather than just getting to the point in a clear and concise way. When leaving these messages for others, we should be clear and concise, but offer a time for a phone, face-to-face or video call to address any questions or concerns.

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  5. Hi Robine,
    Great blog post! Interpretation of any communication is always left to the recipient. An important element to consider in this week’s multimedia program ‘The Art of Effective Communication’ is to know your audience. It is important to understand the background of the other party that you are communicating with. I don’t believe that the multimedia program provides enough information on the prior business relationship between Jane and Mark or the structure of the organization. Factors to consider when analyzing the communication between Jane and Mark are:
    • Had Jane and Mark worked together on other projects?
    • Do they work well together as team mates?
    • Does Mark have a reputation of over committing himself?
    • Is Jane someone who frequently waits until the last minute to complete a task?
    • Do they report to the same manager?
    • Is this a matrix management environment or a functional organized structure?
    These are key factors in understanding the communication between people in an organization. In a blog post I read titled Speaking, Listening, and Interpretation in Negotiation the blog author states ‘Interpretation in negotiation is how one party views the other party. Interpretation can be influenced by many different factors such as cultural differences, gender differences, language barriers, business ethics, and the ethnocentrism and stereotypes of the individual negotiator’ (InfoRefuge, 2012). Until I understand the background relationship of Jane and Mark I’m not sure if it is reasonable to make assumptions about Jane’s perceived tone of voice and approach, and Mark’s potential response.
    Leslie

    References
    InfoRefuge (2012). Speaking, Listening, and Interpretation in Negotiation. Retrieved from http://www.inforefuge.com/negotiation-speaking-listening-interpretation

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  6. Robine,
    As a designer responsible for communicating in several different modes, I am sure you are familiar with just how fast communication can go wrong. Face to face is not always an available communication mode so it is important, as you mention, to make sure we use proper etiquette and maintain professional behavior when working with others. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and providing further insight on effective communication.

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  7. Hi Robine,

    We had completely different opinions on the multimedia pieces.
    I thought that Jane was courteous and respectful in the email and the voice message. I felt she was considerate of how busy Mark must be, but at the same time she needed for him to complete his assignment so that she could complete hers. Jane’s face to face communication was quite different from her other forms of communication.

    There is an article called, Importance of Communication in an Organization, in the online Management Study Guide. The author states that effective communication “promotes motivation” …and “plays a crucial role in altering individual’s attitudes, i.e., a well-informed individual will have better attitude than a less-informed individual.” (n.a., n.d.) I thought that was an interesting statement.

    Thanks, Lillian

    Reference:
    MSG Management Study Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.managementstudyguide.com/importance-of-communication.htm

    Like

  8. Face-to-face is likely the most professional level of communication. Does your office utilize features such as Google Hangouts, Skype, Etc. to still provide the F2F contact? I would think that could allow the same level of communication with people on opposite coasts or perhaps other countries if need be.

    Like

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