“There are managers so preoccupied with their e-mail messages that they never look up from their screens to see what’s happening in the nondigital world” (Csikszentmihalyi, n.d.)
Relying on digital technology to deliver messages has created a business society that operates at an efficient, rapid pace. Email has replaced the phone call or face-to-face meeting. The ability to rapidly create a message and send it around the world instantaneously creates an environment where the true meaning of the sender is lost on the receiver. This consequence cannot be reduced with emoticons or amusing anecdotes. Instead, it is something that must be recognized and managed by professional communicators.
The three examples presented in the course are a great representation how the same content can be received in different ways just based on the method of distribution. Kind words and understanding phrases are respectful, but without the non-verbal cues to reinforce their intent, the message could come across as demeaning and rude. “Without hearing your voice or seeing your facial expressions, it is difficult to discern tone, meaning, and emphasis” (Bristol-Smith, 2011). The voicemail is an improvement since the receiver can detect inflection in the senders voice which eliminates some of the risk of misunderstanding the message, but there is still some doubt as to the senders sincerity.
The optimal method for communicating, in most situations, is face to face. Eye contact, relaxed stance, and a non-confrontational verbal tone help sell the sincerity of the sender. “Only a small percentage of communication involves actual words: 7% to be exact. In fact, 55% of communication is visual and 38% is vocal (Gallo, 2007).
So what does all this mean? For a project manager, using face-to-face communication methods to rely important or sensitive messages is best. Whether this is an actual meeting between people or the use of video conferencing, make sure the receiver can see your face and read your non-verbal cues. Of course, that also means the manager must be careful about how their body is sending a message. Non-verbal cues can either sell, or confuse a message. By maintaining eye contact, the sender of the message demonstrates well deserved attention to the recipient. “People want to feel special. They want to feel as though you are speaking to them directly or that they are the most important person in the room during your conversation” (Gallo, 2007). This is a fact that communicators too often forget.
Bristol-Smith, D. (2011). The dangers of email. Retrieved September 17, 2013 from http://www.speakforsuccess.net/a-email.htm
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (n.d.). Quote. Retrieved September 17, 2013 from http://www.warc.com/Pages/NewsAndOpinion/Quotebank.aspx?Category=Digital
Gallo, C. (2007). Body Language: A key to success in the workplace. BusinessWeek February 14, 2007.