Communicating Effectively

“We send approximately 100 to 300 messages a day. These include messages we intend to send; the messages we actually send; and the message as the hearer interprets it; the response of the hearer based on what he or she heard; and our reaction to the exchange of words, meaning and interpretation” (Franck & McCastskill, n.d.). For this week’s blog, we were asked to interpret a message that a coworker received in three different modes: email, voicemail and face-to-face.

Email Email-Icon1

Jane began her email to Mark just as Dr. Stolovitch stated, with a clear purpose that stated the situation (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.). She needed some of the data that Mark had in his report to complete hers by the deadline. She asked him simply for the data that she needed and her email seemed to be fairly clear.

Voicemailgoogle-voice-icon

The tone of Jane’s voice in the voicemail she left for Mark was formal and her language was simplistic (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.).  Even though she showed her appreciation for the work he was doing, it seemed like she was frustrated in not having the information that she needed to meet her deadline.

Face-to-Face5473-logo-copy

Jane’s face-to-face conversation with Mark was more informal and didn’t seem as urgent as both the email and the voicemail.

Influential Factor

In my office, I send and respond to emails the most in order to communicate with my co-workers. By doing so, sometimes the messages can be misinterpreted. By communicating face-to-face with someone, instantaneous response can be received and misinterpretation that often happens with written communication can often be eliminated. I interpret communication by someone’s tone. According to Stolovitch, written communication should include five things (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.).:

  1. Begin with a clear purpose
  2. State the situation
  3. Include possible solutions
  4. Specify the form that the response is required to take
  5. Keep the tone of all communications business friendly and respectful

In this example, I would have to say that the email used the best communication approach. The email that Jane sent to Mark best conveyed her message and comprised all 5 of the elements in the above list. It is a written document that can be used later if needed.

Communication is a vital took when working with a team. Project managers should be able to effectively communicate with all of the members of their team. If communication is lacking and not constructive, the project will also be lacking.

References:

Franck & McCastskill, (n.d.). Effective communication. Retrieved from http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/pdfpubs/6103.pdf

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Communicating with Stakeholders. [Video webcast]. Retrieved from: https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_549170_1%26url%3D

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Project Post Mortem

Several years ago I was asked to review several online professional development programs along with the Assistant Superintendent to determine which program would be most beneficial to the paraprofessionals in our school district. In Georgia, teachers and paraprofessionals have to complete 100 hours of training within a 5 year period of time to renew their certificates. The two of us reviewed several programs and picked the one we thought would be most beneficial to those that had to use it. These teachers and paraprofessionals were to use this program on designated staff development days or on their own time to get their needed training hours.

In my opinion, and now looking back at this project, I can see that we did not handle it the proper way. First, we should have analyzed the needs of the users. We should have sent out surveys or met with them to see how familiar they were with the technology required, what type of professional development classes they felt would help them the most on the job, and their preferred way of learning – online or lecture.

We decided on one program and then held a “train the trainer” session with one person from each school with the intentions of that person being able to redeliver to their co-workers and be able to support them when needed. The trainers went back to their schools and briefly went over the new program in a staff meeting. Employees had no idea how to sign on, how to sign up for specific classes or how to complete the process to get the credits. It would have been a good idea to have the employees from each school system in a computer lab and let them actually have some hands on experience with the program at the beginning. This would have alleviated many problems and questions during the process.

The program turned out to be a waste of time and money on our part. Very few employees took advantage of the online classes and many felt that we were forcing them to work on their off-time. I am in the process now of conducting surveys to see how I can serve their needs and make on-line classes more appealing to them. I plan to design a few courses on Blackboard that will offer specialized training with videos and interactive presentations. I am also planning to create either a step by step powerpoint or video that will explain how the program works so that it can be viewed as many times as needed.