Cover_Power of Communication Technology
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    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?

    SCOTT THAYER: Well obviously I think I would need to be with her one on one, either through the phone or face-to-face contact. I think in those types of situations, there is the emotion that can be read and seen in someone's face, as well as heard in the voice.

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    What frustration that I have with instant messenger or text messaging in situations such as conflict is that the recipient cannot tell the style of conversation coming out of certain individuals where one thinks he might be joking or it could be angry, and you can't really tell exactly the tense of the conversation. So definitely, in dispute with a spouse or a family member, I think it would be best to have a verbal over the phone or a face to face.

    DR. SIEGEL: Then, Scott, let's talk about applying that in business. Let's say you're a manager in a corporation and you work with other managers, and you and another manager have a flare-up about something that you disagree about for the company. You go back to your own office, the other person goes back to his or her own office, and then you're thinking about it, and it's disturbing you. Now to settle that problem, because there's a personality clash, there's a disagreement, there's a little tension, I'll ask the same question. Given that circumstance, would you then use one of the technologies, email, voicemail, text, some of those things, or would you then in fact think that the same would apply, that you and that person need to resolve those issues?

    SCOTT THAYER: Well, Mike, when there's a personality conflict, as well as the actual conflict itself, I think it's important to be able to voice one's concern completely in order to find resolution. Often times I've discovered that when there's a personality issue, the other individual engaged in that conflict doesn't necessarily listen to the whole point being expressed, so that kind of loses the flavor. So in that situation, what I would do is I would go back to my office, sit on my keyboard, and type out an email detailing my frustrations and my thoughts for two reasons: One, I would be able to express it to him clearly, or her, so that they can see all of my frustrations. Number two, I would have a record of exactly what I said and how I said it.

    DR. SIEGEL: Actually, that's a great point, because when you're in a business setting, having a record is important. Obviously in a personal situation, that can almost work against you because the other person involved with you in a personal relationship is going to say what are we, a business couple here? What is this about? So you're right. But I would also follow up with the idea that not only the email, but then also, because that puts it on record, but then also the actual interaction between the two of you. Once that email gets sent and once you're trying to be conciliatory and trying to resolve the problem, depending on how the other person responds, to me, it would be important then to get out there and have a one-on-one conversation. Maybe go to the lunchroom and have a cup of coffee with the person in the building and sit down and go over what was the disagreement about and how did we get there and how can we resolve this between us so that there is at least the ability to see the eye contact and the nonverbal behavior as well so that the two of you really do resolve this as human beings working together because you're going to have to be working together in the future?

    SCOTT THAYER: Absolutely. And that's something that I think the email can actually bring out, because it would allow myself to voice all of my concerns. Maybe at the end of the email I would request or suggest, hey, let's get together for lunch down at the local restaurant and talk some things through based upon this email. Yeah, most definitely, face to face, I believe, is the best way to resolve conflict.

  • 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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Power of Communication Technology

There are new rules of Communication in this era of technology. When should you use email? Voice mail? Text Messaging? Chat room? Phone conversation? In-person conversation? Your success may depend on the appropriate and effective use of each of these tools. Let this program give you the guidance you need. “Old school” meets “new school” in this engaging audio program, with youth communication expert Scott Thayer. Mike Siegel is one of the nation’s foremost experts in media and communication. He is an author, attorney and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, with a PhD in Rhetoric and Communications. Few others are as uniquely qualified for understanding the nature of human communication, the political system and business positioning.

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