Communicating Effectively

Communication is critical in business. The Internet is used extensively for email and the written word has become “the primary means of interpersonal communication” (Barron, 1998. pg 118). Further, hundreds of millions of people use Facebook and tweet daily (Schultz, Utz, & Göritz, 2011). The written word dominates communication. People tend to rely too heavily on email for important communication. Thus it becomes absolutely necessary to write clear, effective emails and recognize when a phone call or face to face meeting is the better option.

I thought the email presented in “The Art of Effective Communication” (n.d.) was well crafted. The request for the missing report was polite. It also included the reason for the request which should validate the request for the recipient. A slight revision might be to clarify “soon.” Since soon is vague, an exact date would give the recipient a better idea of exactly when the report is required.

The problem with email is the lack of tone of voice or body language to aid the recipient in interpretation of the message. A slightly misworded sentence can be misinterpreted or a recipient can be in a wrong frame of mind to comprehend the message as intended. A person who has had a rough morning, a frustrating drive to work, a poor night’s sleep, is ill or any one of a number of other circumstances can decode a message completely different from that that was sent. Consequently, critical messages should be delivered at least via phone, if not in person.

Hearing the message via audio confirmed what I read in the written message. The voice talent who read the message did a good job of using tone and inflection to get the message across. I can’t see how anyone could misinterpret the polite request for the needed information. However, according to Duthler (2006), email allows a sender to create a more polite message than that left via voicemail. Email allows for corrections while voicemail does not.

Watching the message delivery in the video confirmed what I heard in the audio and read in the message. The person in the video had a laid back delivery with a pleasant facial expression. There should be no misinterpretation on the part of the receiver.

Messages should be delivered using the appropriate medium. If the message is really important, the sender should consider a face to face delivery, where discussion is possible. If email is used as the means of delivery, messages should be carefully written and proofed before being sent.


Baron, N. S. (1998). Letters by phone or speech by other means: The linguistics of email. Language & Communication, 18(2), 133-170.

Duthler, K. W. (2006). The politeness of requests made via email and voicemail: Support for the hyperpersonal model. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 11(2), 500-521.

Schultz, F., Utz, S., & Göritz, A. (2011). Is the medium the message? Perceptions of and reactions to crisis communication via twitter, blogs and traditional media. Public relations review, 37(1), 20-27.

“The Art of Effective Communication” retrieved from 7/16/2015.


3 thoughts on “Communicating Effectively

  1. Definitely the way the message is delivered should be adjusted to the type of the very message. Otherwise misunderstandings might happen and cause many problems. On the other hand one may say the emoticons are such a good solution but is it appropriate to use them when you’re not that familiar with the message recipient?


  2. I think communication is probably the most difficult area that we each face on a day to day basis. There are many situations in which our communication can be interrupted correctly or incorrectly. Each mode of communication has the potential to contain barriers. Writing may be interrupted based on the presentation and the words used. Phone or voicemail may be interrupted based upon the tone and then the words. If someone is in a hurry to get to their next meeting or just got off the phone from a confrontational person, their tone may be much different than what they intended. Face-to-face presents even more ways to have a message go array if the person is distracted or not focused on how their body language, tone and words are producing the intended message. It is important to focus and take the time to be clear and concise when we are communicating.


    • I really liked your post and agreed with all of it except for one thing. As you said, accordingly to Duthler, email communication can be more polite than voicemail. I am really struggling to grasp this because I feel like adding the layer of voice to a message conveys more of the intended message. In other words, if I leave you a voice message, you can hear from my voice whether I am happy, angry, frustrated, or panicked. I will likely include more “please” and “thank yous” than I likely would in a written message. Perhaps this is unique to me because I tend to be more polite in speaking to others than when I am writing.


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