Choosing How to Communicate

We have many ways to communicate: email, phone, instant messaging, and in-person. How do you choose which to use when? Get-It-Done Guy has a handy primer.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #265

Get-It-Done Guy listener Cindy writes in:

“Do you have advice or tips on which communication method is most appropriate for a certain recipient and the given message?”

Cindy, this is an important question! Technology was supposed to make our lives easier. And it did. We had paper mail, then moved to telegraph, then telephone, then cordless telephone. Everything was simple and logical, though a few way-too-self-important people had multiple phone numbers. Sheesh. As if they were that important.

Then in a mere 15 years, along came email, a dozen different instant messaging platforms, Skype, Vonage, cell phones, text messaging, BBM. Suddenly there are two dozen ways to reach each of us. This actually isn’t progress. This actually sucks. Not least because different communication modalities communicate different things in different ways. Choosing which channel to use to contact someone can be a real trick.

Use the Right Medium for the Person

Different people have different ways they like to be contacted. Find out someone’s favorite, and use that whenever possible. Some people are writing-oriented people. Use email or text messages for them,  as they prefer.

Other people are listeners. For them, use phone and voicemail. Some people, sadly, are talkers. They also like phone, but only the part where they get to talk. And talk. And talk. For them, use email. (Or learn to cut the conversation short so you can get back to work.)


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins 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.