What is Effective Communication?

“Effective communication is influence by:

  • Spirit and attitude
  • Tonality and body language
  • Timing
  • Personality of the recipient” (Laureate Education, n.d.)

This week in my course at Walden, we had to look at three different methods of communicating the exact same message. I have to say I was surprised by my reaction to the message in each instance. Below is the message, which was communicated in an email, a voicemail, and face-to-face (video).


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 your 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. Jane


When I read the email, my first reaction was that it was very curt. More of a “I know you’ve been busy BUT … I’m more important” kind of message. The second word that came to mind was desperate. I know you are responsible for the full report, but I need the data NOW, and I’ll take it even if the report is not done. “If you’re responsible, you should be held accountable” (Portny et al., 2008, p. 294). In this instance, I do not believe the person is being held accountable. Maybe it would have been better to check in earlier in the week rather than the day it was due.

Email has an issue with regard to tone and facial expression. If you are not careful, your tone can be misconstrued. Without seeing your expressions, people can very easily make a leap to the wrong idea, rather than seeing what you “really meant.”


In the voicemail, the speaker’s voice sounds desperate and rushed. They are speaking quickly, which could make someone listening think that they are in trouble. If that happens, there are quite a number of people who will hide from you instead of facing up to the not being completed in a timely manner. I know I have done it on a very rare occasion. I am not sure this is any better than the email.


In the video showing the face-to-face encounter, it seemed a little friendlier, and being able to see the person’s facial expressions made it less desperate. This felt less like a “me, me, me” conversation, but a let’s just get the job done. They were leaning over a cubicle wall in a friendlier manner, which would make someone less reactive and less likely to try to run and hide.

“Efficient processes and smooth working relationships create the opportunity for successful projects” (Portny et al., 2008, p. 306). Communication is so key to the success of any project and any working relationship. There are times to seek someone out face-to-face and THEN follow up with an email stating what was discussed. You can set a friendlier tone when talking in person. We need to be very careful in our communication methods. Sometimes setting it out in the beginning in a Communication Plan will assist in making sure all communications go smoothly throughout the life of the project.


Laureate Eduction. (n.d.). Communicating with Stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.Leaders

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