Need To Have A Conversation? First You’ll Need To Decide Between In-Person, Phone, Video, Texting, IM or Email!

Do you have trouble deciding between writing an email or having in-person conversations at work? You are not the only one!

Many of us spend time and effort deciding the best way to handle an initiative or have a difficult conversation that will ensure that the message is conveyed, received and understood by the other party.

To help make this decision easier, let’s start by thinking about all the options that we have for communication as tools at our disposal. We first need to think about the message that we want to convey. Ask yourself:

– Who needs to see this information? How will this information impact their work?
– Is this message formal or informal, information-filled or requires back and forth discussion?

All of this information will help you decide which tool or medium you will use to convey your message. Now, let’s look at all the communication tools available to you in the workplace:

In-Person Communication:
– If you need to have a formal discussion, difficult conversation, or discuss an idea that requires brainstorming, it may be best to meet in-person.
– This method works best because you can read body language and facial expressions and engage in fluid conversations with dynamic dialogue.
– You can also leverage influence and persuasion techniques to build your case or point of view.

Telephone or Video Calls:
– With a global workforce, many workplaces do not have the luxury of having all employees meet face-to-face. The next best option is to setup video or telephone calls to engage in fluid conversation.
– With phone calls, you can still build persuasive arguments or have difficult conversations, but you have to remember that it may be more difficult to read body language.
– Some apps and software offer video / web cam options, the ability to share files, complete group work in real-time on a whiteboard, and also record conversations for record-keeping.

Texting and/or Instant Messaging:
– Text-based communication is a great option for concise information that must be conveyed quickly, to confirm details, or to make small decisions between team members.
– With this medium, you will need to keep your communication to the point, organized, and professional since tone can be misunderstood.
– It may help to use this medium for initiatives that have already been started and once team rapport has been built up with face-to-face meetings or telephone calls. Find the right tool for your team.

Email:
– Emails are a great way to quickly communication with your colleagues or employees in a cost-effective manner, while recording the conversation.
– This medium is best used for conveying information, setting up projects or initiatives, creating a record of discussions or meeting notes, or setting up times for group interaction and meetings.
– Email should not be used in place of dynamic group discussions or difficult conversations because tone could be misunderstood.

What Do You Think?
Do you prefer one medium of communication over another? Do you find it difficult to turn off your email and have an in-person conversation? Leave your comments below.

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