This week I was tasked with reading, listening, and then watching a short video and then to share a synthesis of my thoughts regarding what the three methods of communication imply about communication within a project team. The three methods of communication (email, voicemail, and video) discuss Jane’s concern that she may miss a report deadline if she does not receive Mark’s input promptly. In this blog post, I will provide my interpretation of each form of communication, followed up with how these three similar but different communication techniques can help project team members communicate more effectively with others in the future.
Jane’s email is a form of formal communication in the fact that it is “preplanned and conducted” (Portny et al., 2008). The email delivers Jane’s sincere concern when she asks Mark’s how long his report will take to finish in order for Jane to meet her report deadline. In her email, Jane establishes an eager attitude to finish her report while at the same time firmly ensuring Mark understands that he is holding her up.
While the voicemail does show a calm tone, Jane definitely seems more worried that Mark has not finished his portion of the report. Jane’s inflection gets higher when she says, “I really need an ETA on the missing report” which demonstrates a formal communication tone. Jane’s voicemail in my opinion is both formal and informal because even though her intent is to formally warn Mark of his actions thus far, a voicemail is informal in nature due to the fact that there is no way to track whether or not Mark heard or received it. Jane should “confirm in writing the important information that was shared in informal discussions” (Portny et al., 2008).
In the F2F video recording, Jane’s demeanor is definitely friendlier than the email and voicemail because she smiles more. Her face does turn to a more serious demeanor as she lets Mark know she may miss her deadline if he does not provide her with a portion or the whole report.
The “Art of Communication” lesson has provided a few valuable lessons to any member of a project team. The first lesson is no matter what the form of communication is (written, verbal, and/or non-verbal) everyone will interpret the form of communication differently. In this communication exercise, Jane is the “sender” of communication and Mark is the “receiver”. No matter what the tone and demeanor of the sender’s message is, the receiver is going to decode the meaning of the message in their own personal way. Understanding this concept, it is very important that the sender keep a message clear and concise and in a way to not offend or confuse the receiver of the message.
Another lesson learned from this communication exercise is any informal or verbal communication should always be followed up with a written message as Portny et al. states, “Clearly describe any actions that people should take… minimizing the use of technical jargon and acronyms… and to carefully document all action items developed at the meeting and assign responsibility for their completion”.
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