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The Communications Conundrum



28 September 2017
M. Evett and A. Shah

We have had a lot of internal debate about the best way to communicate within our teams and here’s what we are struggling with. Whether communication is a skill, art or combination of both, there is no doubt that being able to communicate effectively is imperative to a successful project and business. Advances in technology have fostered the rapid growth of multiple channels of communication. We are increasingly dependent upon email, instant messaging, and text messaging. Add in cellular phones, and you never need be unavailable.

This of course can be seen as a problem itself, but the expectation of being contactable and available has never been greater. With all of these options, which format should be used when you need to communicate with someone?

This depends upon several factors. Firstly, the recipient must have access to the same technology which you are intending to use. Clearly, a Google Hangout requires the attendees have a google account. Secondly, expected speed of response is also a major factor in deciding how to communicate. Instant message or text messages can get attention quickly. The flashing onscreen message being simple to reply to, and perhaps difficult to ignore.

Thirdly, we must consider how complex the topic you are communicating about is, and whether preciseness matters. Does the recipient need to understand a complex idea or plan? Both email and a phone conversation might be better suited for these situations. But, if you need to make keep a paper trail of the discussion, then email might be best.

We take for granted the availability of multiple communication platforms, and pay little heed to the implicit language styles associated with these different formats. Perhaps exercising a little more thought and caution when firing off the next instant message or email would be of benefit. Is this communication really so ‘throw-away’ or might it be an archival record to be drawn upon in the future? No matter the medium, words are as powerful as they ever have been.

In our next two blogs, we share our internal debate with you a bit more!

Tags: technology, management, project management