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.
Multimedia Program: “The Art of Effective Communication”