Selecting the best medium for the message

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There are many ways to communicate and only a few that are appropriate for any given activity. Thinking about the emotional impact and intellectual complexity of the activity will help to define which medium is the best to choose. That selection process alone will go a long way to ensuring a successful outcome.

Interestingly, when thinking about emotional impact many leaders focus on the negative end of the spectrum. It’s simplistic to think that only negative emotional responses need to be planned for and managed. The message may be received with relief and enthusiasm but those responses need to be managed too. Just as an antagonistic response can threaten an activity, an energetic and positive one with no focus can do as much damage.

Low emotional impact and low intellectual complexity.

The message is simple, with little risk of misunderstanding and no requirement for high levels of emotional investment.

Medium:

· Voicemail message

· Email

· Note on desk

High emotional impact and low intellectual complexity.

The message is simple but emotionally charged and requires action from the recipient.

Medium:

· Telephone or Skype conversation

· Ad hoc meeting

Low emotional impact and high intellectual complexity.

The message is not contentious and largely factual, but the concepts or requirements are complex.

Medium:

· Letter

· Memorandum

· Email

High emotional impact and high intellectual complexity.

The message has a high potential for misunderstanding and emotionally charged responses. There is a high need for the recipient to full appreciate their actions and those of others, as well as having a high level of emotional investment in the activity.

Medium:

· Video conference

· Formal meeting

 

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