Thursday, May 24, 2012

Communicate effectively through multiple channels

The use of email is still a main driver for miscommunication within the workplace. People simply rely too much on it for their communication, or rather they rely too much on it as the main channel for workplace communication.

Given that up to 90% of the written word is interpreted by the recipient of the message, email is a risky channel of communication especially when the author of the message suspects that it has a high chance of being interpreted negatively.

Yet people continue to press 'send'. And again and again and again. And they wonder why their workplace relationships suffer. And they wonder why performance suffers when negative energy is wasted on unnecessary miscommunication.

Communicating any message by a single channel is risky business. And even riskier when the message has a high probability of being misinterpreted.

Unless you are deliberately intending for someone to read a negative message from your email, then it is best to use multiple communication channels to send your message.

A communication channel is a means through which a message is sent. It could be verbal, a text message, an email, a video, a presentation, an audio recording, a website, a blog - the list of possible channels is virtually limitless.

When you have a potentially difficult issue to convey speak to the person or people to whom you wish to convey your message first. This can be in person or at least over the phone. It is after you have conveyed your message via a verbal format that you should then follow up with an email, simply highlighting the key aspects of your verbal conversation.

This simple technique of using multiple channels to convey your message will significantly decrease the chances that the recipient of your message will misinterpret your intentions. Business relationships won't suffer and performance won't be reduced. A little care and forethought goes a long way.

What is your experience of using multiple channels to more effectively communicate your messages in the workplace?

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