Communicating Effectively

Effective communication among all project team members is essential for a project’s success. How someone communicates with different stakeholders is of equal importance to the content of the communication. It can also influence how a message is interpreted.   After watching “The Art of Effective Communication,” I found it quite interesting that the same exact message could be interpreted three different ways based upon how it was delivered.

The first message was delivered via email.  Jane asked Mark to finish up a project because she needed his data to complete her portion of the project.  When I read the email, I felt that Jane came across and desperate, panicky, and not very organized. In my opinion, the email portrayed Jane as unprofessional due to both the structure of the letter and her inability to complete a project. Because of my own experience with similar emails, I perceived this message to feel very pestering.  The second modality, voicemail, was, in my opinion, very effective in relaying the message to Mark that Jane was in a bit of a jam until she received his data.  Hearing her voice, I felt that she was sincere and I felt bad for her. She was polite and by the end of the voicemail, I really wanted to help her out.  I have been in a similar situation to Jane and hearing the emotion of her voice helped me to relate back to my own similar experiences.  Finally, I interpreted the face-to-face conversation as very casual.  Jane’s attitude was very laid back and not-demanding.  If I were having this face-to-face conversation with Jane, I would not feel pressured to complete the data that she was requiring. Body language helped me to perceive the message in this manner. Because I am not Jane, I do not know exactly the true meaning and intent of the message.  However, if she needed to retrieve some data, the voicemail was the most striking for me.

As a result of this exercise, I have found that tone of a message has a lot to do with how it is received. Dr. Harold Staolovitch (n.d.) believes that the approach is more important than the actual words being used.  Because of prior experiences with the each modality, stakeholders may have some preconceived ideas before they even here the message.  These pre-held ideas may be a roadblock to effective communication.  This is why important communication is best delivered live and all team members present (n.d.).” In the future, if I were to have any oral conversations with stakeholders, I would want to document all that was being said. In addition, if I were going to communicate through written means, I would do the following:

  1. “Be clear with the purpose.
  2. State with the situation
  3. Include possible solutions
  4. Indicate if sign off is required
  5. Specify the form that the response is required to take.
  6. Keep the tone of all communications business friendly and respectful (n.d.).”

In general, all communication should avoid vagueness and uncertainty (n.d.). It should keep in mind tone, language and attitude. In this situation, I believe a response time would have been important to mention since she seemed to be on a time crunch.

Stolovitch, H. (n.d.). Project management concerns: communication strategies and organizational culture. Retrieved November 17, 2011 from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6051999&Survey=1&47=7555398&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

Advertisements

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. debaufre
    Nov 18, 2011 @ 04:32:23

    Hi Jennifer,

    It’s interesting how differently we interpreted the email and voicemail versions of Jane’s message. I thought the email was polite, but clearly established the urgency of her situation. Conversely, I thought the voicemail was lacking in personality or an effort to infuse the human touch elements of communication. We both agree on how effective the F2F request was.

    I thought about how we could feel so differently about the other two modalities. I was reminded of a comment that Dr Stolovich made in this week’s resources. He mentioned that we need to consider who the message’s recipient is, and how will their personality affect how they interpret our communications with them (Communicating with stakeholders, N.D.). For example, in my position, I receive 50+ emails a day from various departments. When dealing with that type of volume, and responding to each email, it’s easy to leave out some of the warm salutations. From the culture of my department, Jane’s email has everything I would expect in a correspondence. Your work environment may be very different. This could explain why we feel so differently about her email.

    Communicating with stakeholders, [Video Podcast]. (N.D.) [With Dr. Harold Stolovich] Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6051999&Survey=1&47=7412207&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

    Reply

  2. lynnmunoz
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 18:27:00

    Jennifer,

    As I mentioned to Robert D., the best part of this assignment for me was reading the different perceptions of the various cohorts to the messages in the different modalities. It really gives me pause when reflecting that the message was identical in nature in all three modalities for every cohort, and yet, many of the cohorts perceived very different messages. In fact, there is a large division in which modality was considered most representative of the intent of the message.

    I admit I have not read every single blog, but so far you felt the voicemail (audio) message was the “most striking.” Robert and Rocky both felt face-to-face was be the best representation, and myself, I felt the written email was the best. We are all extremely intelligent individuals with a plethora of workplace experience as well as a lifetime of communication experiences, and yet, we have come to very different conclusions.

    I also mentioned in my response to Robert D. that communication has entire libraries, degrees and disciplines devoted to understanding all of the nuances. This is due to a variety of factors and variables. Gender, experience, generation, context, etc. all play a significant part in our perceptions of a message. That is why I prefer written messages that I can deconstruct objectively, preferably removing any outside connotations. It is one of the reasons I prefer our discussion forums and blog posts. I can write what I mean much more accurately and carefully than would ever pop out of my mouth! As a person with ADHD, impulsivity is a HUGE problem. I have perpetualy foot in the mouth disease.

    In addition, I noted that you were very explicit in relating your perceptions of the message back to your own experiences. You stated, “because of my own experience with similar emails, I perceived this message to feel very pestering.” You also stated, “I have been in a similar situation to Jane and hearing the emotion of her voice helped me to relate back to my own similar experiences.” I attempted to divorce myself from the subjective in my analysis. This is not ever a complete success; however, I did perceive the earnestness of Jane’s message in all three modalities. I also felt that the face-to-face communication was far less demanding and more apologetic for requiring the information. Although, the message was clear (written) that it was information Mark should have previously provided.

    Thoughts?
    Lynn

    Communicating with stakeholders, [Video Podcast]. (N.D.) [With Dr. Harold Stolovich] Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6051999&Survey=1&47=7412207&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

    Reply

  3. Joseph Tricoli
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 02:50:23

    Jennifer,
    Great post!
    week’s resources reflected on how effective communication among all project team members is essential for a project’s success. As illustrated by this week’s media, how we communicate with different stakeholders is of equal importance to what we communicate and can influence how our message is interpreted.
    “I felt that Jane came across and desperate, panicky, and not very organized. In my opinion, the email portrayed Jane as unprofessional due to both the structure of the letter and her inability to complete a project.”
    I totally agree with you on the first half of this statement. I find it interesting that more of our classmates have not commented on content as well as tone. There were several punctuation errors that made it seem as if the e-mail was hurried and Jane, in a panic. As we saw in the final modality (video) she in fact was not as her e-mail portrayed her to be. It is true that it is difficult to control how people perceive inflection in text but, Jane could have done better at her punctuation.
    “Dr. Harold Staolovitch (n.d.) believes that the approach is more important than the actual words being used.”
    I think it is also important to point out one reason why approach is more important than words. The approach is contagious. People may react to perceived stress and react with stress. This is not good for the workplace moral and could affect productivity. I agree that the face to face approach is the safest to avoid unwanted workplace confusion.

    Stolovitch, H. (n.d.). Project management concerns: communication strategies and organizational culture. Retrieved November 17, 2011 from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6051999&Survey=1&47=7555398&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: