powerofcommunication
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    Part 1 - Power of Communication Technology

    In Part 1, Dr. Siegel is interveiwed by Scott Thayer.

    DR. SIEGEL: You know folks, it’s a very interesting process we’re going through in this country. We’re going through a revolution. Some people say, well, we’d like to have a resolution, but we are going through one, and it’s a communication revolution. And I’ve watched this as a traditional communication scholar, as a professor of communications, one who studied the field over the last several decades. And of course going back to when I first earned my PhD in 1972, we didn’t have this kind of technology today. We didn’t have these various streams of communication that we have today. It was, in a way, I suppose, a lot easier to make a decision about what form of communication we should follow in each circumstance. Well, it’s become more difficult, and I don’t think people really have thought about that consciously as much as they ought to. If you think about all of the kinds of communication available today and what options there are, it’s gone far beyond anything we would’ve imagined, those of us who can remember back before this technology era.

    But let’s start with the fundamental point of human communication. Communication is a transaction. It’s not linear. It’s not just from person A to person B. When you communicate with somebody, you’re communicating as a transaction. The two of you are immersed in each other’s communication messages as you go through the process. Now that doesn’t mean you even have to be in each other’s presence. You could be writing a letter. You could be using a voicemail, or an email, or any other form of technology, but the fact remains that it’s still a transaction, and you need to think about that. The reason is that it’s not just you sending the message. You’ve got to ask yourself the question, what’s the impact on the other person? In addition to that, what we’ve had traditionally is personal human contact and communication. I’m not sure we have that as much anymore. I think when we deal with our technology and communication in the technology era, we really don’t think as much about the personal impact and the personal contact that we had in the past, and we’ve lost some of that. We’ve become detached from the traditional communication principles that we had previously. And of course, also, there are verbal and nonverbal elements, especially in the traditional form of communicating with a person one on one, or in a small group, or in a large group, for that matter.

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    So let’s get to this communication in the technology era, and let’s talk about defining what form we use in what circumstance. We have social communication. We have business communication. We have marital and family communication. We have friendship communication. And then the question is, which of those areas apply to which of the kinds of communication that are available to us nowadays. What is the purpose of a communication message? Is it to schedule a meeting? Is it to close a business deal? Is it to communicate your plans to your spouse for the evening? Is it to resolve a dispute with a family member. Obviously, these are all very different kinds of transactions that will take place, and you have to decide what the best way is, what vehicle you should use, what communication form you should use to settle that issue. Then, you need to understand the impact of each of these media; expectations of a medium of communication. In other words, what can you expect from a particular medium, when you should use each medium. Going through that process is very, very important. There is the issue of efficiency of the method of communication you are using. There is the issue of what cost there might be. There is the issue of the record of the content of the message. Is it a permanent message that is indelible and there permanently? There is a record of the delivery of the transaction. Is it impersonal in the way that you’re presenting it? Should it be more personal? So that if you’re sending an email, is that not the right vehicle to use because it is a very personal message that you want to convey to somebody when you’re in their presence. Then, you would not use an email, for example, in that case. Is it a message that is static, meaning that it’s just simply a structured message that you sent through a form of technology that then you cannot clarify in terms of the ambiguities in that message? And somebody may read it in a way that you didn’t intend it, and then how do you solve that problem if you’re not in each other’s presence? So there’s all of these things that are here for us, and we want to go through all of those.

    Let me just mention very quickly what kinds of communication messages there are. As we all know, there’s the text message, becoming much more valuable, much more important. As more and more people use their cell phones, text messaging becomes huge. Of course, the email, and you have that out there. You have instant messenger, which is another form of communication. You have the chat room. You have the voice message that you leave for people. You have the fax message that you send to people. And of course, those are all technological, and we still have the traditional, fundamental principle of communicating with people one and one and the interpersonal fashion. Scott Thayer joins us. He is a guy who has been very much involved in technology. He is a dynamic, energetic individual. He has grown up in this technology era, as I did not. I go way back. I don’t want to date myself here, but I go back long before Scott. I’m delighted to have him with us here to talk about some of this. Scott, thanks for being here. How’re you doing?

    SCOTT THAYER: I’m doing well, Mike, thanks for having me.

    DR. SIEGEL: All right, you heard me talk about all these different forms of messaging, text, email, and right on down the line. I’m one who’s more traditional and believe that the most effective way to communicate with a person is one on one, but I also understand that these technologies are absolutely invaluable in terms of getting things done very efficiently. So let’s talk about that. If you were going to settle an issue with your spouse, that maybe had a disagreement about what you were going to do over the weekend, I would ask you the question, would you solve that problem by texting her a message, or by emailing her, or faxing her, or would you think that you need to be with her one on one to sit down and talk with her about it?

  • About the Author

    Mike Siegel is a communications consultant, a media giant, a pop culture icon (you can find him on Wikipedia ™), a big mouth lawyer, a liberal-turned-conservative, an advocate of business, a bit of a healthnut and a good momma's boy from Brooklyn. What most people don't know is that Mike Siegel has a PhD in Communications, volunteers for several charity groups and has dedicated much of his life to higher education both as student and teacher.

    Mike has made numerous appearances on a variety of television talk programs including Oprah, The O'Reilly Factor, Politically Incorrect, Geraldo, Fox News Sunday and more. He is revered and respected but most of all he is a great lover of learning and strategic communication. We invite you to learn more about how Mike's broad professional experience and communications expertise.

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You will learn leadership skills, persuasive communication skills, understand the non-verbal communications, and how to use communication technology in the workplace.

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