Thursday, September 22, 2011


Simple Communication

As ID professionals, we all know that effective communication is essential to any project.  Communication is the bridge to building and maintaining working relationships. If done properly, communication can bring people together for a common cause. If done improperly, communication can poke holes in the best of intentions.

There are several forms communications may take place during our project endeavors.  The most common in this day and age occurs through email. Sending an email is one of the most common ways to communicate across office structures, especially in work environments where the usage of mobile devices such as cell phones for texting, are limited or simply prohibited. Either way, text communications can have their drawbacks.  The following email message for example, gives the impression that although this co-worker is requesting specific data to complete her report by the deadline, receiving the data is not that urgent of a matter. She leaves the window open for Mike to respond whenever he feels he has the opportunity to get around to it. What do you think?

                Hi Mark,

                I know you have been busy and possibly in that all day meeting today, but I really need an ETA on the        missing report. Because you r report contains data I need to finish my report, I might miss my own deadline if I don’t get your report soon. Please let me know when you think you can get your report sent over to me, or even if you can send the data I need in a separate email. I really appreciate your help.

                -Laureate Education, Inc

This same message sent via voicemail, evokes a little more feeling. The courteous and professional tone of the message urges you to reply in kind, but does not necessarily move you to act immediately. 

In the face to face meeting, Mike is confronted with the issue first hand. Although the tone is consistently polite and professional, you can see the concern on the co-worker’s face, which provokes an immediate response. Making a request in person also carries with it the weight of urgency, meaning if someone is willing to take the time out of their busy schedule to come see you about a matter, then that signals that an immediate response is expected.

So this experience has proven what we’ve already known about communication, as the interaction decreases, the potential for misinterpretation increases. What does this mean for communication efforts between team members?  That communications should be specific, professional, and time sensitive when requesting or sending information to others.  My personal rule of thumb is to make sure to include the: who, when, where and how as much as possible, especially when talking to others from a distance (email, text, written or voicemail). What would you do?


The Art of Communication. (n.d.). [Video] Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved from:

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