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Assessing your communication options
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pixel.gif (807 bytes) Communication methods compared
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IT IS NOW POSSIBLE to look at the applicability of each method by identifying where it sits against each of the four dimensions and the media elements it is capable of employing.
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Characteristics by dimension Media characteristics When to use
Audio tape/CD Recorded, so consistent, considered, accessible when suits user

Passive, so requires less effort from recipient, quicker

Local, so potential for high quality, portable

Pull, so less stressful, good for large quantities of info

Through the spoken word can be specific, convey tone of voice

Through non-verbal sounds can create emotional response, realism

When the message can be conveyed using sound alone; when interaction is not required; when recipients have access to players; when no other medium is suitable, e.g. when travelling

Typical applications: education and training on the move

Videotape Recorded, so consistent, considered, accessible when suits user

Passive, so requires less effort from recipient, quicker

Local, so potential for high quality, portable

Pull, so less stressful, good for large quantities of info

Through the spoken word can be specific, convey tone of voice

Through moving images can be direct and memorable, attract attention, show motion, including body language

Through non-verbal sounds can create emotional response, realism

When the message requires high quality moving images; when you need to create a memorable impression; when interaction is not required; when the size of the audience makes it cost-effective; when recipients have access to players

Typical applications: corporate communications

CD-ROM Recorded, so consistent, considered, accessible when suits user

Interactive, so opportunities for feedback, can check message has been understood, recipient can control pace, message can be tailored

Local, so potential for high quality, portable

Pull, so less stressful, good for large quantities of info

Through the written word can be specific, self-paced

Through the spoken word can be specific, convey tone of voice

Through still images can be direct and memorable, self-paced

Through moving images can be direct and memorable, attract attention, show motion, including body language

Through non-verbal sounds can create emotional response, realism

When the message requires a wide range of media types; when interaction is required; when the message needs to be tailored to the recipient; when the size of the audience makes it cost-effective; when recipients have access to players

Typical applications: training and point-of-sale programmes

Letters / memos / reports Recorded, so consistent, considered, accessible when suits user

Interactive, so opportunities for feedback, can check message has been understood, recipient can control pace, message can be tailored

Local, so potential for high quality, portable

Push, so message will reach target on time

Through the written word can be specific, self-paced

Through still images can be direct and memorable, self-paced

When the message can be conveyed using text and still images; when it is important that you know the recipient will see the message; when the message needs to be tailored to the recipient; when e-mail is not available, when portability is needed or when hard copy is essential

Typical applications: everyday business communications where no on-line alternative

Manuals Recorded, so consistent, considered, accessible when suits user

Passive, so requires less effort from recipient, quicker

Local, so potential for high quality, portable

Pull, so less stressful, good for large quantities of info

Through the written word can be specific, self-paced

Through still images can be direct and memorable, self-paced

When the message can be conveyed using text and still images; when an intranet is not available, portability is needed or hard copy is essential

Typical applications: reference, where no on-line alternative

Printed materials Recorded, so consistent, considered, accessible when suits user

Passive, so requires less effort from recipient, quicker

Local, so potential for high quality, portable

Pull, so less stressful, good for large quantities of info

Through the written word can be specific, self-paced

Through still images can be direct and memorable, self-paced

When the message can be conveyed using text and still images; when quality is important; when the size of the audience makes it cost-effective; when an intranet is not available, portability is needed or hard copy is essential

Typical applications: corporate communications, marketing materials

Fax Recorded, so consistent, considered, accessible when suits user

Passive, so requires less effort from recipient, quicker

Push, so message will reach target on time

Through the written word can be specific, self-paced

Through still images can be direct and memorable, self-paced

When the message can be conveyed using text and still images; when it is important that you know the recipient will see the message; when the recipient is at a distance; when e-mail is not available; when the recipient has a fax machine;

Typical applications: business messages if no on-line alternative

E-mail Recorded, so consistent, considered, accessible when suits user

Interactive, so opportunities for feedback, can check message has been understood, recipient can control pace, message can be tailored

Remote, so no delays, regardless of distance

Push, so message will reach target on time

Through the written word can be specific, self-paced When the message can be conveyed using text alone; when it is important that you know the recipient will see the message; when the recipient is at a distance; when the message needs to be tailored to the recipient; when both parties have e-mail access

Typical applications: everyday business communications

Intranet Recorded, so consistent, considered, accessible when suits user

Interactive, so opportunities for feedback, can check message has been understood, recipient can control pace, message can be tailored

Remote, so no delays, regardless of distance

Pull, so less stressful, good for large quantities of info

Through the written word can be specific, self-paced

Through still images can be direct and memorable, self-paced

When the message can be conveyed using text and still images; when the recipient is at a distance; when the message needs to be updated regularly; when interactivity is required; when the recipient has access to the intranet

Typical applications: corporate communications, reference, discussion forums, training

Radio Passive, so requires less effort from recipient, quicker

Remote, so no delays, regardless of distance

Pull, so less stressful, good for large quantities of info

Through the spoken word can be specific, convey tone of voice

Through non-verbal sounds can create emotional response, realism

When the message can be conveyed using sound alone; when the recipient is at a distance; (if live) when communication needs to be immediate; when the recipient has a radio receiver

Typical applications: none

TV Passive, so requires less effort from recipient, quicker

Remote, so no delays, regardless of distance

Pull, so less stressful, good for large quantities of info

Through the spoken word can be specific, convey tone of voice

Through moving images can be direct and memorable, attract attention, show motion, including body language

Through non-verbal sounds can create emotional response, realism

When the message requires high quality moving images; when the recipient is at a distance; (if live) when communication needs to be immediate; when the recipient has a TV receiver

Typical applications: corporate communications using satellite

One to ones Live, so immediate

Interactive, so opportunities for feedback, can check message has been understood, recipient can control pace, message can be tailored

Local, so can take place anywhere

Push, so message will reach target on time

Through the spoken word can be specific, convey tone of voice

Through moving images (in this case normal sight) can be direct and memorable, attract attention, show motion, including body language

When the message requires the parties to see each other; when interaction is required; when communication needs to be immediate; when the message needs to be tailored to the recipient

Typical applications: interviews, everyday business communications

Meetings Live, so immediate

Interactive, so opportunities for feedback, can check message has been understood, recipient can control pace, message can be tailored

Local, so can take place anywhere

Push, so message will reach target on time

Through the spoken word can be specific, convey tone of voice

Through moving images (in this case normal sight) can be direct and memorable, attract attention, show motion, including body language

When the message requires the parties to see each other; when interaction is required; when communication needs to be immediate; when the message needs to be tailored to the recipient

Typical applications: presentations, seminars, reviews, briefing sessions, group decision-making

Phone Live, so immediate

Interactive, so opportunities for feedback, can check message has been understood, recipient can control pace, message can be tailored

Remote, so no delays, regardless of distance

Push, so message will reach target on time

Through the spoken word can be specific, convey tone of voice When the message can be conveyed using sound alone; when interaction is required; when communication needs to be immediate; when the recipient is at a distance; when the message needs to be tailored to the recipient; when both parties have access to a phone

Typical applications: everyday business communications

Video confer-
encing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live, so immediate

Interactive, so opportunities for feedback, can check message has been understood, recipient can control pace, message can be tailored

Remote, so no delays, regardless of distance

Push, so message will reach target on time

Through the spoken word can be specific, convey tone of voice

Through moving images can be direct and memorable, attract attention, show motion, including body language

When the message requires the parties to see each other; when interaction is required; when communication needs to be immediate; when the recipient is at a distance; when the message needs to be tailored to the recipient; when both parties have access to video conferencing facilities

Typical applications: important meetings held at a distance

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                                                     Fastrak Consulting Ltd, 1998. All rights reserved.                                 Last revised 2/11/98.