analytical Q


The Diary of Anne Ku

28 June 2000 Wednesday


Nowadays we can communicate in so many different ways, whether one-to-one, many-to-one, one-to-many, or many-to many:

  • face to face
  • email
  • telephone call
  • fax
  • written memo, letter, scrap of paper
  • chat room
  • discussion forum
  • video conferencing
  • tele-conferencing
  • instant messenger, "sametime"
  • avatars

The appropriateness and effectiveness of these communication methods depend on the person and the situation.  I discovered recently that instant messenger was better than email or phone call for those who like to multi-task and type faster than they speak.  It's much easier to get the message across than the telephone.  I also found that a face to face meeting may convey more than an email. 

It takes awhile before I figure out what is best for certain people.  Even with emails, there are optimal lengths.  To a busy manager, short emails (one sentence or fragments) are better than long ones.  When I have to let five people know about some thing that they all can action on, I run into a decision problem: do I send a) the same email to all five people, b) just one and cc the others, c) blind copy all of them, or d) send the same email five times?  For a) each person may assume that the others are acting on it and thus not respond.  For b) the one person may be unavailable or miss the email.  Thus no response.  It seems that c) and d) are the most effective.  Too many choices complicate things, I think.