Conversations: The Medium, the Message and the Audience

Preparing for a meeting or presentation is commonplace, but have you prepared for the audience? This is an important aspect of workplace communications

Texting, Tweeting, instant messaging, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp — what do they have in common? Mainly they represent a transition from long-form written communication (and communication skills) to a more shorthand version that is increasingly more accepted, and used, especially as millennials permeate the workplace. But communicating, whether it’s via device, at a presentation or during a lunch-n-learn, can be daunting and stressful. McLuhan & Davies offers solutions for business communication and helps people to “think, write, speak and lead.” Your Workplace magazine spoke with Amanda James, chief operating officer with McLuhan & Davies, about their communication research and how process and communication training is even more important in today’s modern workplace.

Your Workplace: What are the biggest communications challenges facing HR or other management in the workplace?

James: One of the biggest challenges is a breakdown in communication due to varying communication styles. This is partly a generational issue, but it’s not the whole story. Our research shows that when we communicate, we do so in one of three distinct styles. If we don’t recognize our own dominant style, or that of the person we’re communicating with, that’s a recipe for communication breakdown.

As an example, baby boomers tend to be more analytical communicators and value the written word, structure and time to process communication. Millennials tend to be more visual communicators and thrive in spontaneous environments. There are certainly exceptions to this, but in general we find it to be true. This can lead to communication breakdown at all levels: interpersonal, departmental and organizational. 

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Joel Kranc
Joel Kranc
Joel Kranc is editor and deputy publisher of “Your Workplace”.

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