A Medium to Match Your Message

A Medium to Match Your Message

In any given day, I communicate by sharing information in many different ways.

I talk to my daughters, my husband, my friends and neighbors, and anyone else I happen to see, face to face.

I send emails — lots of them.

I make phone calls; I text; I send Facebook messages; I tweet.

I write blog posts; I Skype; I exchange instant messages online.

Very rarely, I write handwritten letters or notes.

In this age of instant communication and social media, it is very important to carefully match your message to the most appropriate medium.

E-mail works for many work related missives but sometimes it is far more effective to pick up the phone. Text messages have an economy of words that is perfect for some conversations, but there are other conversations that require face to face interaction.

Writing on an acquaintance’s Facebook wall to wish them a happy birthday works fine… but if you want to communicate a deeper level of commitment or affection, you probably choose a different medium.

Consider the effect of a thank you sent in various mediums. Which would have the greatest impact for you: a verbal thank you delivered  in a staff meeting, among your peers; a handwritten note; an email; a text?

Because communication is about far more than just the words you use; the medium you choose for your message conveys a meaning of its own. And since people vary, you also need to consider which medium will be best received by your audience as well.

Leaders who communicate skillfully master the art of matching the right medium to the right message.

Join the conversation!

What is your favorite medium for communicating with others?

When have you noticed a disconnect between a person’s message and the medium they chose to deliver it?

How do you choose the right medium for your messages?

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is reposted with permission. 

Filed As:  LeaderTalk, communication

About Becky Robinson

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

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What People Are Saying

  • Great points, Becky. Knowing the right medium for the occasion is essential to having the greatest impact. I find that hand-written notes are a powerful way to connect with others because they’re so uncommon today, and the other person appreciates the time and thought that you put into the gesture.

  • Love this concept and will RT your post on Twitter. I wholeheartedly agree about choosing the right medium to match your message. It is something often overlooked.
    Many people choose the medium that is easiest for them vs. the medium that will make the recipient’s work and life easier.
    I too use the mediums you listed. Most important to remember is to include voice or face communication with everyone at some point! It produces dimensions to a relationship that electronic cannot. In a recent Univ. of Illinois study of undergrads on the issue of trust, face to face contact still rose to #1. Even with the young generation that loves texting!
    Since electronic communication is a big part of our work, we must ensure we communicate very well when using it.
    Here’s a post that delivers two key words to use for success in the 21st century both electronically and with voice:

  • Face-to-face is the richest medium for communicating because it is made up of three elements; words account for 7% of the message, body language 55%, and voice tone 38%. Correlate these elements and their importance with the different mediums above and you can see how they become less and less robust in communicating a message. Specifically, if you take face-to-face communication and insert technology into the mix for something like teleconferencing, it becomes a little degraded because of video resolution and sound quality. With telephone communication body language has been removed, but there is still voice tone and words. Email, text messaging, faxes and snail mail are the leanest of all communication mediums because all you have is written words.

  • It’s very important to choose the right medium to effectively communicate.Liked the way you have described what type of communication should be used for what purpose.I am yet to follow you on Twitter.Will do it soon.Look forward to more such interesting posts from you.

  • Thanks for the wonderful post. I completely agree with you that the medium of communication is the most important aspect to create an impact on the listener. Truly, speaking in this respect, as you have mentioned in your post, a handwritten message would definitely have a greater impact on the receiver than an email or a text message as that person would be able to appreciate the time and effort that you have put in writing that message to him.

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