The Communication Debate: E-mail, Phone, Or Face Time?

Surgeons have a number of tools available to them. They choose the right tool for the circumstances. Think of surgeons the next time you need to communicate with someone. Consider all the tools available and choose the right ones.

There are three things you should mull over before you select your communication tool.

  • Know your audience.
  • All of us have our own preferences, including the person, or persons, you plan to contact. If possible, use their favorite method to connect with them. Too often, we do what’s most convenient for us. You should make it easy for them.

  • Consider the subject.
  • Are you trying to convey a simple message? Or is it complex? Does the subject lend itself to “one-way and wait” dialogue, or would real-time two-way conversation be more productive? The answers to these questions may dictate your method of contact.

  • Think effectiveness.
  • As with any interpersonal communication, effectiveness is more important than efficiency. What’s the best way to deliver your message so it’s understood? Focus on achieving your desired result, not how fast you can get it done.

Here are some examples:

  • If you need a response, but you can wait … just e-mail me.
  • If you need an immediate response … let me hear your sexy voice.
  • You need to present a very complex idea … let me see your lovely face.
  • You want to follow-up on a meeting or an interview … just e-mail me.
  • You need to discuss a delicate situation … let me see your lovely face.
  • I’m very busy and you need to get answers fast … let me hear your sexy voice.
  • You need to negotiate a deal … let me see your lovely face.

Of course, you may determine that more than one method of contact is appropriate. For example, you might e-mail me to schedule a face-to-face meeting.

As a fallback, e-mail is great because it is the least invasive. Obviously, face-to-face is the most invasive. But meeting in person is the richest form of communication. E-mail is at the bottom of that list.

Our quote today comes from Lee Iacocca.

“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get
them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”

So get it right – use the right communication method at the right time for the right crowd in the right way.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at what to do when a co-worker bad mouths you. How should you confront this difficult situation? Until then, here’s to your big success!

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