Communication — the transmission of information and meaning from one party to another, is an essential competence of a manager. It is necessary for a manager to know the difference between the various modes of communication and have the ability to choose the optimal mode depending on the circumstances. The table below provides an insight on how to select an appropriate communication mode in several hypothetical scenarios — from employee termination to promotional campaigns.
|Scenario||Mode Choice||Justification for Choice|
|Your company is going through a reorganization, and you have been tasked with reducing your team by three members.||Telephone, face-to-face conversation, Zoom||In this scenario, I will have to deliver bad news about termination to the members of my team. The best way of doing that would be to tell them in person, or at least over the telephone or Zoom. According to Sanders (2015), delivering bad news over emails is a poor choice since it marginalizes the recipient and makes them feel insignificant. Furthermore, Bateman et al. (2020) suggest using phone calls and face-to-face conversations for sending difficult messages. In my opinion, it is important both for manager’s and corporate reputation that even the terminated employees are treated with respect. Therefore, I would choose a mode of communication that lets the team members see my face or at least hear my voice.|
|You have a last-minute change to a meeting agenda and need to let meeting attendees know about it quickly.||Text message, Google Hangouts||The last-minute changes are quick and unpredictable, which demands speed in transmission. Therefore, choosing the fastest communication mode is necessary to transmit the message to all meeting attendees simultaneously. Given these circumstances, I will use text messages in the group chat or specialized software such as Google Hangouts. Sanders (2016) recommends using text messages in situations that require fast reaction, particularly the coordination of group activities. In this regard, text messages will inform all meeting attendees about the last-minute change in the meeting agenda. As a result, all group members will receive the new information on time and react as necessary.|
|Your company is running a special limited-time promotional offer for customers.||Social media posts, printed mediums||A special limited-time promotional offer is an activity type aimed at attracting new customers. Therefore, the company needs to reach as many potential customers as possible and catch their attention with advertising. Social media posts and printed mediums are the best communication modes for such goals. Firstly, digital media allow sharing information rapidly with a large number of stakeholders (Bateman et al., 2020). Secondly, printed mediums, such as leaflets, newspapers, or magazines, will widen the reach of the promotional campaign. According to Sanders (2015), visual messages are the most powerful ones, which corresponds well with product advertising. As such, the potential customers will receive a powerful visual message about the ongoing offer.|
|You are negotiating a new contract with a supplier and need to discuss several terms of the agreement that require clarification.||Step sequences: |
1. Phone call
3. Zoom/Face-to-face conversation
|Supply contract negotiations are a highly important process that is crucial for building reliable supply chains. Therefore, the communication process must be well-structured and organized. In addition, it is necessary to show respect and sincerity to the potential business partner. Sanders (2015) advises using phone or personal conversations for debating or conveying true intentions. Given this information, I would make a phone call to clarify my intentions. Next, I would send an email in order to confirm the time and date of the meeting in person or a Zoom video conference. Finally, I would prepare a list of terms that need clarification and discuss them with the representative of the potential supplier. Overall, this algorithm would let me combine the necessary clarity with the respectful treatment of the business partner.|
|You are inviting several subordinates to an impromptu business lunch to build team camaraderie.||Text messages, face-to-face conversations||An impromptu business lunch is a group activity that requires the participation of the whole team. Nobody should be left out if one wants to build team camaraderie. As such, I would use communication modes that allow fast communication on a group level. Firstly, Sanders (2016) suggests using text messages for coordinating a real-time meeting, such as a lunch meeting. Secondly, if the team is relatively small and all the subordinates are present, I would gather them and convey my message personally. However, one should understand that the texting route must be used politely — it is wrong to send the message late at night or when the subordinates are on the day-offs.|
In summary, a manager must remember one fundamental rule — oral communication modes, such as face-to-face conversations or phone calls, are preferable in situations when one needs to convey powerful messages and show respect. On the contrary, written communication modes, in particular texting and emails, work better for the depersonalized coordination of group activities. Regardless of the optimal communication mode, one should remember the etiquette and avoid bothering people in their personal time, such as day-offs. The only exception is the situations when immediate communication is objectively crucial for business matters.
Bateman, T. S., Snell, S., & Konopaske, R. (2020). Management. McGraw-Hill Education.
Sanders, T. (2015). Getting email right: When email is the wrong choice. Web.
Sanders, T. (2016). Professional texting etiquette. Web.