Communication in the Workplace – The Starting Point

November 15, 2009

My boss asked me the other day – “Why do you use (insert name of instant messaging program) instead of email?”

It was 5pm on a Friday afternoon and I was knackered.  I bumbled out some reply about immediate answers and easy but I don’t think it worked.  They weren’t sold on the idea.  So I decided to put a bit of thought into it.

And after putting that thought into it, I realised that it’s going to be a massive task.  So over the next two weeks I’ll be putting together some short blogs on communication types in the workplace.

Instant Messaging

Let’s look at the main types.

  • Face to Face – In the presence of the other person.  Generally most productive.  Most time consuming.
  • Post – Send via either internal or external mail.  Physical documents moved.  Slow.
  • Phone – Talking directly to the person or people involved.  Immediate answers.  Other person must be there.
  • Email – Computer sent text and files to one or multiple targets.  Audit trail.  Not real time
  • Instant Messaging – Real time ’email’ text only communication.  Fast and efficient.  Distracting



2 Responses to “Communication in the Workplace – The Starting Point”

  1. […] Read more: Communication in the Workplace – The Starting Point « A Young … […]

  2. JW said

    I’m quite a big fan of the instant msger @ work as it’s not quite as invasive as a phonecall/face2face – people can answer at their own pace i.e. like an email but in a less formal structure, one drawback is the lack of audit trail compared to email. whilst it’s all recorded, it’s more expensive to dig out the content versus your sent folder
    a big plus for me is that you can also use the availability status to determine whether someone is available, especially useful if you don’t work in the same floor, building, country or timezone
    It’s also good for some chitchat to build relationships/networks
    It’s good for some instant quick answers
    Depending on the urgency and importance and the relationship with the person I’m communicating to:
    I would usually use email, then follow up with f2f if they are sit closeby and phonecall if they are sit far away.

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