Instructional Design and Technology

on November 16, 2012

There are many forms of communication within the workplace and each can portray a different feel even though the same thing is said. “Facial expressions are a universal language of emotion, instantly conveying happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and much more. Reading these expressions is essential to compassion and empathy” (UCB, 2012). When writing an email it is difficult for the reader to know what emotions are meant by the text.

In “The Art of Effective Communication” three means of communicating the same question/concern to a fellow employee are addressed. 

The first one I looked at was that of the written communication via e-mail.  The problem with email is that the reader cannot easily tell from the written text what emotions and the words can come across strong.  Jane tried to show that she cared from Mark and knew he had been busy, but she still was in need of a response.

Second I looked at the Audio clip which was a voicemail sent to Mark.  My first impressions were that Jane was coming across strong and more  demanding. Although the listener, Mark, would be able to hear the tone in her voice, she still seemed to come across strong.  If the listener didn’t pay close attention in the very beginning of the conversation it would be a very strong request for the completed work on the project.

Finally, I looked at the face-to-face conversation and you can now see the emotions and expressions. The conversation was still demanding work to be done and action to the taken, but because it was a face-to-face meeting the feeling was more pleasant and seemed friendlier.

Each communication gives the same information, but some will always be more forceful than others.  E-mail communications can be used, but need to be written properly as to not come across as the writer is yelling.  Personal communication is always the best because body language can tell a lot about the person’s mood.


University of California, Burkeley (UCB). (2012). The Greater Good. Retrieved from


6 responses to “

  1. Tom says:

    You said “Personal communication is always the best because body language can tell a lot about the person’s mood”. What if there is too much frustration and emotion involved; could there be a time when a well thought out email might avoid the overflow of emotion of a face-to-face meeting?

  2. avoneyw says:

    Hi Bryce,
    I agree with you that face-to-face communication is usually better than the other forms of communication as there is a lot that one can received through this medium. In fact, it is known that face-to-face communication is quite useful for immediate feedback and provides the receiver of the message with additional information through voice, eye contact, posture, and body language. “It is the appropriate medium for delegating tasks, coaching, disciplining, instructing, sharing information, answering questions, checking progress toward objectives, and developing and maintaining interpersonal relations” (
    However, it is understandable that face-to-face communication is not always possible in many cases, especially in large organizations that have outlets spread across a region. However, technology has afforded many organizations to use communication tools such as video conferencing to connect people around the world as if they were face-to-face. Through the simple use of a built-in camera on the computer, a video tool such as Skype can be an effective way of communicating face-to-face. This process can be used instead and can be an effective way of communicating rather than sending a voicemail or an email that sometimes never get answered because they become crowded with other messages.

    Why is communication important in management and leadership? (n.d.). Retrieved on November 16, 2012 from

  3. Hi Gayle, As I was reading your blog post I just could not wait to add this to yours. Portny et al. (2008) state, “Face-to-face communication is sometimes a better modality than others are because it allows two-way communication; moreover, it allows receiver to pick up nuances of voice and body language unseen in the other two modalities”. Moreover, Portny et al. tells us to use formal communications after f2f and voicemail. Formal communication is email.

  4. Paul Hokanson says:


    I like your blog response for this week. I too also think that personal communication is best, but like I said in my blog, I heard more emotion in the voice message than I did in the other two modes of communication.

    • EDUC 6145: Project Management Blog says:

      Hi Paul, yes you are correct; the voicemail was very effect because the delivery was a human voice and personal. As a project manager or instructional designer we will need use as many communication tools available. The method(s) used is established by the PM or delegated PM that could be the lead ID. The PM establishes the particulars about the method and frequency of the established communication method that is to be used for the project. S/he may present the particulars via a meeting followed up by formal email written communication and again by verbal repetition–keep saying the same thing over repeatedly. That gets the point across every time.

  5. Jen Goble says:

    I guess I’m the odd one out, but I felt like the face-to-face communication wasn’t as effective as the email and voicemail. From the context of the message, it was my understanding that Mark was behind in delivering information that Jane needed in order to proceed with a project. While I appreciated her efforts at being understanding about the reasons for Mark’s delay, I felt like her facial expressions and body language weren’t forceful enough – she seemed almost apologetic, and by hiding her body behind the wall, she seemed to be hiding from the confrontation.

    On the other hand, I can see that face-to-face communication might have been better if this had been a conversation, rather than one-way communication. If she had stopped to let Mark explain, and then went on to ask for a delivery date, I think I might have felt better about this method of delivery.

    I know that Portny et al. (2008) suggested that face-to-face communication is sometimes better, but I think in a situation like this one where someone has failed to keep to the time schedule, having an electronic “paper trail” is a good idea. I think I would have chosen email as the best modality for this communication.

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