Mike and Mark,

I enjoy your cast very much and have recommended it to friends.

I have some questions regarding communications.

When is it appropriate to use which channel to communicate?

There are many channels available to us today.

face to face, phone, fax, traditional mail, e-mail, text chat, audio chat, video chat, text blog, audio blog, video blog, text based discussion forums and others.

What really prompts me to ask this is that your main form of communications is through the podcast (audio blog) channel, but you also rely on the text blogs and the text based forums. I figure that you've chosen these channels for specific reasons.

On a related note, it struck me that Mark was spending a good amount of time crafting text responses on the forums and text posts on the blog. Wouldn't it take less time to simply dictate posts and responses? Maybe not.

Are there reasons that you choose text over audio and/or video?

To give a little background on why I'm asking -- As part of my job, I'm working on promoting the use of Skype to business communities (mainly the federal government), so I'm interested in this topic mainly from the angle of how new communications technologies integrate with business operations.


PierG's picture


I always start from the point that face-to-face communication is the best way.

It exploits three great 'channels' (from now on, sorry for my poor english, I'm traslating some techincal terms from italian, hoping they are ok in english):

. verbal (WHAT you say) -> weight for 10%

. para-verbal (HOW you say) -> weight for 30%

. NON verbal (HOW you behave) -> weight for 60%

Saying that, from my point of view, what can go in the direction of 'NON verbal' (video?) is great.

Of course you can do a lot just with audio if you can concentrate a little bit on the para-verbal.

I hope it makes sense.


Mark's picture
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(Thanks PierG - Forza Azzurri!)

ARe you asking about communicating with us about Manager Tools, or in general?


Anonymous's picture

I agree with PierG. Face to face is the best. I then rank phone, then e-mail. With my job, I answer lots of questions from our workforce. When I get lazy, I catch myself responding via e-mail, or after hours phoning (i.e. voice mail). It's easy, but I think there's at least 3 things wrong with it.

1 -- a LOT of time, I missed the issue that may have caused the question in the first place.
2 -- The person I'm helping (I think) is less satisfied.
3 -- I'm not setting a good example for my folks.

Thanks, Walt

sklosky's picture


Congrats to Italy on winning the world cup.

I agree with your points.

A big part of my question centers around the effective use of time. It seems to me that sometimes the most effective communications methods -- one on one, face to face, are also sometime the most time consuming methods.

Also, it seems that in certain forums or business situations, written communications are required. Sometimes written communications (like details specifications) are important for capturing details for future reference. Sometimes written communcations are important for functional use by the recipients -- people can scan articles quickly as opposed to scanning notes from a face to face meeting.

When I started thinking about it, the general question of which channel to use is complicated by all the factors involved.

I know that effective managers have to be efficient and effective in their selection of communication channels . . .


sklosky's picture


My question is about general communciations.

I am thinking in terms of "triaging" messages (both inbound and outbound) and what criteria are generally used to determine whether to blog it, e-mail it, call it in, video conference it, etc.

Upon further review, I realized that this is not a simple question.

On a somewhat related note, I would like to relate one professional experience I've had. One of the best managers I had would be a "voice mail bomber". What I mean by this is that the entire office would know whenever he landed in an airport because all of their voicemail lights would begin lighting up. Tom would go into the voice mail system and dictate directions on tasks and follow up on outstanding questions. By doing this, he appeared to communicate faster and more effectively that by pounding out the e-mails. Just an experience. I thought it would provide some insight into my question.

Please keep up the excellent work on the podcasts. As listeners, we are lucky to have professional information providers like you and Mike.


Mark's picture
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Do you have a decade? ;-)

In general, face to face is so far above all other forms of communication that it is the standard. Period.

Generally, voicemail is next, and then email. I find email wonderful, but it is also a scourge for most people. I manage my mail quite tightly, and most people do not. What's more, I pay very close attention to my writing (though still am often frustrated by my lack of clarity), and most people do not.

I try to stay away from considering time as a factor. If you choose a quicker vehicle, in the long run it often costs more due to lost meaning.

We will be covering this in detail, but for now, also remember one of the keys: communicate with the vehicle the LISTENER prefers. That's one of my secrets.


PierG's picture

I fully agree with Mark and the time you feel to loose 'at the beginning' is precious in the future.

Having bad communication in the early stage of 'something', lead to poor assumptions that lead to mistakes that explodes as times goes by.

Fewer errors at the beginning lead to better activities or, at least, to early failures (great asset!).


sklosky's picture


Thanks for the insights. I have a take away item to observe listeners (message receivers) more carefully.

I am glad that there is a forum which encourages us to ask these types of questions and facilitates discussions of these topics.

Thanks for the podcast, blog and discussion forum. They have helped me to re-examine what I'm doing, what works well and what I can work on.