For this assignment, we were asked to read, listen to, and watch a message delivered in three different modalities: email, voicemail, and face-to-face. Here were my responses to the given questions:
How did your interpretation of the message change from one modality to the next?
The email lacks the tone and inflection that the voicemail conveyed. I interpreted the email as impatient and annoyed, whereas I interpreted the voice as sincere and patient.
What factors influenced how you perceived the message?
I am guilty of sending and interpreting communication via emails in a negative light. In the moment, what influences my perception of the messages in an email may be how I’m feeling that day, how busy I’m in, how loud the environment is. Overall, when reading an email, I can be sensitive to the words, you and your and read them as accusations. Other factors may be how well I know the person and past communications with that person. I have to sometimes take a step back and remember the larger context such as how the other person may be feeling, how I’m feeling, or the level of stress they may be experiencing.
Which form of communication best conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message?
I thought the voice mail and the face-to-face were pretty comparable and both most accurately conveyed the true message. I couldn’t get the Face-to-Face to play but was able to drag the playhead across the video timeline and watched the facial expressions of the person talking. The tone of the email was frustration and impatience with the request being communicated in a demanding way. Whereas, the tone of the voicemail and face-to-face communication conveyed concern to complete the project as a team, and a patient sense of urgency. The voicemail and face-to-face request for action was conveyed more as a sincere plea and a request for help.
What are the implications of what you learned from this exercise for communicating effectively with members of a project team?
It’s important to slow down and review and consider your message, especially when you are in a hurry, flustered, in a loud busy setting (like me around my kids), or when in any distress. With emails, it’s important to review them before sending them to determine how it comes across. Again, I am guilty of sometimes sending emails at work and at home when flustered which communicates frustration and irritation and appears demanding. When leaving a voicemail, perhaps rehearse what you are going to say and how you will say it. I had a boss who had a really bad habit of this in all forms of communication, email, voice, and in-person. It’s not productive to unnecessarily convey frustration or irritation with colleagues, but it happens. What’s most important is how you communicate with others and build relationships with the most of the time.