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Your method of communication matters to its recipient

2 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Small Business — tracks feedback from small-business owners. We run the poll question each Thursday in our e-newsletter.

Two weeks ago, we asked: Aside from face-to-face conversations, which form of communication do you use most?

  • E-mail: 76.85%
  • Telephone: 17.13%
  • Text messages: 6.02%
  • Video conferencing: 0%
  • Voicemail: 0%

I totally understand the voicemail results.  I’ve heard from many people that “caller ID is the new voicemail” — meaning no more leaving messages, just look at who called and you know who to call back.

The text message outcome is a bit surprising, though.  A recent study by the Pew Research Center indicated that 73% of adults text, and 31% would prefer to receive information via text message rather than by talking.  Makes me wonder if we will start to see a shift away from e-mail communication toward more texting.

Ultimately, whichever method of communication you use, the most important thing to keep in mind is how the receiver wants to be communicated with.  If you write the best e-mail in the whole world and no one reads it, did it really matter?  We all have to be willing to adjust our style to our audience.

Sharlyn Lauby is the HR Bartender and president of ITM Group.