The medium for the message
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In business today, there are just too many communication mediums that we’re spoilt for choice.
Well, each medium has its distinct use, advantages and disadvantages. We’ll take a look at some mediums and the contexts that require them.
Managing a successful team and consequently a successful business demands personal contacts and interactions. Meeting in person is ideal for collaborative brainstorming and long sessions of updates on projects.
Because in-person meetings can be a waste of time since issues could be unnecessarily dragged on, a strict time frame and an agenda that is prepared prior to the meeting are necessary. Also, only concerned members must be invited for the meeting, among other best practices.
Team chats are good for snappy, non-urgent conversations which do not require a large number of members to put work on hold for a long time. They are also a great communication tool for relaying very short information such as reminders for meetings or projects, informal circulation of memos, quick clarifications, etc.
Team chats could easily degenerate into unproductive talk and gossip, and teammates must be conscious to get offline once a discussion is over.
Some effective team chat tools are WhatsApp, Slack, HipChat etc.
Emailing is typically a one-sided communication platform; to send information that does not necessarily demand a response. If an issue requires thorough discussion or analysis, emails are not the option. You can meet in person.
Again, although most email platforms provide access to previous emails in a conversation, it’s not a good idea to use them for long dialogues or conversations. Use emails to convey non-urgent messages, to provide brief status updates and as a follow-up to meetings, conferences, etc.
Make that call if it’s very urgent, but it mustn’t go beyond thirty minutes. If it’s a conference call, limit the number of people to a minimum of three and a maximum of five. Having huge numbers for conference calls can result in poor sound quality and delays in transmitting submissions. You’re also unable to monitor body language, which is a key part of communication.
Text when it’s urgent and you need a response as soon as possible. Deliver quick and short information through texts.
Except in situations where you have built good rapport or are on personal terms with a colleague or boss, do not text them after working hours; they are not obliged to respond. Otherwise, do not expect a prompt response from them.
All these mediums have their own merits and demerits. Blend them strategically for best results.