Communication Methods

Throughout our careers and indeed our lives, we are required to communicate with those who surround us. These communications can take on various forms or mediums, be it a face-to-face meeting, a telephone call, an email, text or even through social media. Deciding on what form of communication to use at any given point can be an important part in successfully getting your message across.

For example you need a colleague to do a job for you, do you get up from your desk and go into their office? Do you email them? Or do you call them? Before making the decision regarding the communication medium, it is important to consider the type of information being sent, how complex the task and perhaps most importantly the recipients ability to decipher your message successfully.

It has been argued that face-to-face communication make more detailed discussions easier, this may be due to the ability to ask and or answer questions and therefore clarify the intended message immediately. Written communication can provide detailed instructions or notes of discussions and a hardcopy can stored ensuring easy reference for the future. Online communications have increased in popularity dramatically over the last decade due to providing cheap, fast and efficient communication that can also easily be stored for future reference.

At times you may engage more than one communication channel to convey a particular message, for instance for a more complex task you may email the particulars to a colleague but then perhaps also go see them to ensure they have understood your request. This can work both ways, for example if you receive an email you do not understand or are unsure of, a face-to-face meeting may be required.


Viewed 21 May 2015,


Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication is an essential part of face-to-face communication. It is claimed that between 60-70 percent of our communication is non-verbal (Fontenot, K 2014).   Non-verbal communication can include eye-contact, gestures, facial expressions and body language.  Knowing what you are portraying through your body can be almost as important as knowing what you are saying aloud.

Knapp, Hall & G. Horgan argue that our verbal and non-verbal communication cannot be separated.  This is true even through communications that aren’t face-to-face.  For example a letter or email may take on a certain ‘tone’, as can our voice in phone calls, it is important to understand what message you are sending through non-verbal communications and where possible adapt it to your intended message.  It is common knowledge that an email that may appear at first read to be scathing, may not be as bad as first interpreted, the key to understanding the intent of the email may lie in the emotional state of the person who is reading it or alternatively the person who drafted it.

It is vital to consider both social and cultural differences when it to interpreting nonverbal communication, “Touching is recognized as a basics human need, but the degree to which individuals touch one another varies considerably from culture to culture” (Eunson, 2012). Different cultures develop there own standards of what different words and gestures may mean, this also applies to the various societies, to ensure your point is taken as what you intended or you are receiving the message intended further information may need to be gathered.


Eunson, B 2012, Communicating in the 21st Century, 3rd edition  John Wiley & Sons Australia, Milton, QLD

Oral Presentations

Oral presentations are a part of every students and most professionals life, personally it’s a hated part of my life.  I feel literally ill when I’m required to present a training session for my fellow colleagues.  Although I have been told numerous times that it gets easier with practice, I’m yet to accept this theory.

It seems widely accepted that preparation is a key part of oral presentation, this can include;

  • Knowing your audience
  • Having appropriate resources
  • Using a suitable environment
  • Researching your topic

After you have prepared your presentation it is important to take some time to consider the delivery.  It has been argued that even the most well prepared presentation can fall flat if the delivery of said presentation is not done effectively, likewise, according to John V. Farr (2000), if a presentation is not communicated effectively the technical aspects of the presentation can be called into question regardless of the technical skills of the speaker.

Some points to remember when delivering a presentation are to speak in a clear audible voice, try too ensure you make regular eye contact with the audience, do not read from your notes too often and limit hand gestures.

These points alone do not guarantee an effective presentation.  In my experience a well prepared presentation can also be ineffective if the timing is not right.  For example it is hard to expect employees to be interested in listening to a presentation at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, this comes back to knowing your audience and choosing a suitable environment.


Farr, JV 2000, ‘Develop your oral communication skills’, Journal of Management in Engineering, vol.16, no.6, pp.6

Eunson B, 2012, ‘Communicating in the 21st century, 3rd edition’, John Wiley and Sons, Australia

Knowing your Audience

Knowing your target audience is key to being able to tailor your communication style to ensure you get your message across succinctly.  For example if you are addressing colleagues you may tend to be less formal than when addressing clients and again less informal when communicating with family and friends.  This is true in both written and verbal communications.


Once you have communicated with clients a few times, whether it verbally on the phone or via email, you may find you need to adapt your communication style further.  Some clients may be more knowledgeable and not require detailed step by step instructions for which to complete a task, whereas other clients may require a bit more ‘hand holding’.  Over communicating where it is not required may result in clients feeling you are overbearing or simply that you think them unintelligent, neither of which is a desirable outcome.

Communication with family and friends tends to be a more relaxed style of communication, where we feel more free to be ‘ourselves’.  Upon reflection, you will find however, that even amongst different friends sets or family members you will adapt your communication style accordingly.  For example some of your friends may tend to be a little more sensitive, in which case you may not tease and joke quite the same way as you would with others.  This kind of adaption amongst our family and friends, tends to be more subconscious than it is within a professional environment.


Costigan, L 2015, Lesson 2: Audience and context, course notes, COMM11003_2151, Communication in Professional Contexts, CQUniversity ,