How to Choose a Communication Platform and Protocol

With more communication platforms than we can possibly handle, it’s important to choose the right one to make sure our message gets through.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #411

Everyone loves drama! We go to the theater. We watch Ministers beat each other bloody in “Fight Church,” the real-life documentary of churches that have a mixed-martial arts practice. And of course, we can’t resist watching YouTube channels where sweet, adorable kittens duke it out over a stuffed mouse.

But most of us don’t want drama in our professional lives. And yet, we use the internet. The internet lets us communicate in 10,000 different ways. So coordinating and negotiating anything takes a billion more steps. Then when a negotiation gets dropped, or delivered to the wrong inbox, or accidentally BCC’d to the entire company (leading your boss to ask, at the next status meeting, “What is a ball gag, anyway?”), drama arises! One person ends up knowing something that another doesn’t. One person shows up on time, snow shoes and flamethrower in hand, while their teammate is at home watching Netflix, having missed the calendar invite. Chaos ensues. And we don’t want chaos. Trust me.

Tame the chaos! Be deliberate with your communication with your colleagues and friends.

Choose a Communication Platform They Use

It’s easy to blast someone on every social media platform they inhabit until you get the response you want. But that takes time, and then you risk them getting the message on different platforms many months apart. The last thing you need is having them show up with their flamethrower on the wrong day.

Pick the right social channel by identifying what’s most convenient for you and the other person. Then stick to that channel with that person.

Don’t send your two-year-old niece a birthday message on LinkedIn. She wouldn’t get it, because she’d be too busy reading articles on creating corporate culture. And don’t send your boss an important proposal on Instagram, because then your boss would see pictures of what a ball gag actually is. 

When you start working with someone, ask for their preferred communication channel. Everyone’s different.

Bernice has offered to dog sit her neighbor Boba’s teacup poodle. The poodle’s name is, of course, Salacious Crumb. She needed to coordinate the pup’s drop off. 

“Dear Boba,” she began her note, “I’m very excited to meet darling little Crumb. The Goddess loves little poodles. If I need to reach you due to an unexpected emergency, what is the best way to do so?” Boba responds that a text message is best for emergencies. Now Bernice knows that if little Crumb accidentally falls into a well or has a run-in with an Audrey II, Boba is just a text away.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.