Wednesday, 13 July 2016


Effective communication can be described as "sharing the right messages with the right people in a timely manner" (Portny, 2013, p. 281)  When planning a project, it is essential that the communication also be planned. 

Link to multimedia program:

How did your interpretation of the message change from one modality to the next?

The content or words used in the message were identical across all three modalities (email, voicemail and face to face) and I personally felt that the written email was the clearest form of communication.   Perhaps I feel this way because I consider myself a "visual" learner and like to "see" things.  The advantage of the written email is that it creates documentation and I don't have to rely on my memory when responding to the request.   However, research tells us that 93% of communication is non-verbal which means that only 7% of the message comes from the actual words.  (Yaffe, 2011).

What factors influenced how you perceived the message?

After viewing the week 3 media resources, I was attuned to the spirit, attitude, tone, body language, and timing of the communication. (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.)   The tone of the email was a bit stern yet the tone of Jane's voice in the voicemail was pleasant.  In the face to face example, I perceived the message (and Jane) as "friendly" and there wasn't the sense of urgency that I detected in the email.  Voicemail can often be problematic when the audio quality is poor, there is background noise or the caller has a heavy accent. The voicemail was the least effective even though Jane's tone was friendly.

Which form of communication best conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message?

Given that the words were identical in all three scenarios, the face to face was the most effective form of communication.   It presented an opportunity to ask questions for clarification and allow Jane and Mark to come to some agreement as to what and when Mark could do in response to Jane's request.

What are the implications of what you learned from this exercise for communicating effectively with members of a project team?

The message itself, regardless of modality, was vague and ambiguous:  "I might"  "when you think"  "if you can".   Communication should be concise, have a clear purposes and always be documented.  Dealing with members of a project team require diplomacy and tact.   By defining the standards of communication, such as frequency, format, response time and other factors, a project team and its stakeholders can establish rules for participation.  (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.)   

Strategies for communicating effectively include finding out what matters to other people and adjusting my behaviour accordingly.  If key stakeholders are not available or lack interest, find out who these stakeholders trust and try to communicate with them.    When my role is external to an organization,  I need to consider the culture of the organization and seek out someone that I feel comfortable with to ask for advice. D
ifferent stakeholders may have different communication preferences so a one size fits all approach may not be appropriate.   (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.)  


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Communicating with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Project management concerns: Communication strategies and organizational culture [Video file]. Retrieved from

Portny, S. E. (2013). Project management for dummies, 4th edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Yaffe, P. (2011).  The 7% rule. Fact, fiction, or misunderstanding.  Ubiquity, Volume 2011, Issue October 2011.  New York, NY:  ACM.  Retrieved from


  1. Vida,
    I was surprised that Dr. Stolovich cited avoiding ambiguity as one of his top two recommendations for communication in a project. Considering this exercise however, I am not surprised that an experienced PM would want to avoid ambiguity over other more seemingly important considerations. Avoiding ambiguity in communication makes it so that other negative factors don't come into play when sending or receiving communications. For example, you mentioned the use of words like "I might" and "if you can" which allows for an untimely response, missed deadlines, and confusion about what the expectation is.

    Moving forward, I will keep this in mind as I send communications both informally and formally as I believe it will help to make me more credible, as well as get the desired response that I need or want.

    Best, Dennis

    Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Project management concerns: Communication strategies and organizational culture [Video file]. Retrieved from

  2. Great and thorough post Vida! I particularly like the information about ambiguity (the Dilbert Cartoon is great and makes the perfect point). When communicating in a business setting, brevity and clarity are key, and this sometimes can become ambiguous. It’s a real tightrope for project managers to walk across. I agree with Dennis that we should use both informal and formal communication. I always follow-up on conversations with emails reiterating what was said (but keep it brief and to the point).

    On another note, I love the Dilbert Cartoon, it makes the perfect point.