21 August 2007

What's the best tool for communication?

It depends on what you are trying to do. Click the diagram at left for a larger view.

How to Save the World: "What are the reasons we use faulty judgement, and use the wrong technology for communications?

* Habit: We tend to use the tools we're most familiar, comfortable, and in the habit of using, even when they're not optimal. It takes some practice to train ourselves to think 'what's the best medium to use for this?' before we start or respond to a communication.

* Personality: Some people (e.g. those who are shy about face-to-face meetings) hide behind e-mail even when it's not the right medium. Sometimes it's up to use, the recipients, not to get drawn into time-wasting e-mail threads, and walk down the hall or pick up the phone and talk it through in real time.

* Physical layout: Having people who need a lot of face-to-face contact in offices far apart just to pay homage to the organization chart can obstruct the use of optimal communication technologies.

* Ignorance: If people don't know communication technologies are available, or if they're hard to learn or remember how to use, or too complicated, they won't be used.

* Unavailability: Some organizations refuse to allow IM, blogs, wikis or free collaboration tools or 'free' tools that need to be downloaded to each PC, for security or centralized management reasons. Obviously, if the tools aren't available, less appropriate tools have to be used."

Read more here.

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Brendan Sullivan said...

Dave - excellent post. This goes right to the heart of a problem we recently had after a software release. The email storm was horrific. I'll use this in crafting our new process.

Menelaos Gkikas said...

Based on your questionings at the beginning, i believe that if the information you provided is impartial, and as a matter of fact i agree with you, nothing wrong will ever happen! I name it "the vital arrows"

Anonymous said...

Great diagram.

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

If you have a staight forward question, wouldn't you want to search a FAQ or other database before sending an email? This behavior promotes self sufficiency and eliminates the e-mail message.

BTW... I LOVE the diagram

Unknown said...

Anonymous -- that's a great point.

Candu said...

This is a wonderful flowchart, thanks for posting, I plan to print and post it if that is OK.

Is it just me or is "phone" missing from this list? The phone would fit in near IM but has the benefits of being "off the record" and in most cases much more conversational (relationship-friendly) and quick.