How to Tailor Your Message Based on Method of Communication

With advances in technology, it is easier than ever to shoot off a quick email or call someone on their cell phone. We also have the ability to check email and voice mail practically anywhere. But sometimes the easiest method is not always the best method. There are times when a face-to-face conversation or phone call is more appropriate than an email. It is important to consider the situation and the information you need to convey when determining the most effective method of communication.

Face-to-Face Conversation

This is the most personal form of communication. You can engage in a back-and-forth dialogue while paying attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues. This allows you to adjust your message as necessary and receive immediate feedback. Having an in-person discussion can be beneficial for difficult conversations because you can ensure that the message is being conveyed clearly along with the correct emotions. It shows more empathy and professionalism when discussing sensitive issues.

Phone Calls

The telephone is a great way to connect over long distances or when face-to-face conversation is not necessary. Sometimes a phone call is a more efficient way to respond to an email and can cut down on the need to send numerous messages. It is more personal than email and still allows you to hear verbal cues, although you cannot see non-verbal ones.

Phone calls can provide quick answers or allow for more in-depth discussion about a topic. If you know that a call will take more time, try to plan ahead so that the recipient can schedule accordingly. Know what you want to say so that you can get down to business and try to clear your desk of distractions so that you are more focused on the conversation.


Sometimes it is necessary to leave a voicemail if the other person is unavailable. Voicemails should be clear and concise. Summarize the purpose of the call in a sentence or two while keeping things positive. Avoid leaving negative or sensitive information in a voicemail. It is better to wait until the person has called you back to discuss these things. Leave a number where you can be reached and, if necessary, when you will be available.


Email can be effective for quickly passing information along in writing. You can use it reemphasize important points following a meeting or send a short reminder. Emails can be saved and referenced later so the person has access to the information when they need it. When a message does not need an immediate response or require more interactive dialogue, an email can be sufficient.

Keep in mind that emails are less personal and it can be easy for someone to misinterpret the message or tone. Choose your words carefully to avoid confusion and create a clear message. If you think that there might be a misunderstanding, give the person a call or talk to them in person. Although convenient, email is not always the most effective or appropriate method of communication.

Consider Your Message

There are times when more than one method of communication may be appropriate. These forms can certainly overlap. Consider the message you want to send and think ahead about future actions. Would it be more beneficial to call the person if you know you will need more information or end up sending a series of emails? Can they send back a quick response via email rather than spending time trying to connect with the same response via phone? Prioritizing and planning ahead can help you to become a more effective communicator and build stronger connections.

If communication seems to be holding you back, contact JP Kantor Consulting today. We can work with you to determine the best way to get your message across and elicit the responses you need.