• Bill Holmes

Project Communications Part 6 – Communication Methods - Interactive


Interactive communications can be difficult!

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.” Peter F. Drucker


“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” Anthony Robbins


When thinking about communication methods, you need to consider who you are communicating with and what you want to achieve. In our personal lives our primary communication method is the interactive method. The PMBOK® describes this as “a multidirectional exchange of information in real time”.


A conversation.


Or, considering the technology we have today, this could be accomplished through a phone call, a meeting, instant messaging, Skype or FaceTime. Other forms of social media like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook also qualify.


But aren’t they profoundly different in their tone and actual levels of interaction?


When you consider the medium, you also need to consider what you are trying to convey. Are you genuinely trying to get information from people? If so, the best way to do so is face to face either individually or in a small group.


If you can’t physically get people together, I recommend a tool like Skype or Facetime that forces the other person to be “in the moment” and paying attention. If you are remote, it is much to easy to do get distracted by other things without the pressure of a camera causing you to stay focused!


But what if you want to give the impression of getting feedback from a large group of people without the messiness of free exchange? I recommend a managed conference call where you carefully control who can speak, but you repeatedly state how much you want “honest and open dialogue!


Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are the wild west. All social media platforms are patrolled by trolls who search for the opportunity to signal their superiority and virtue by pouncing on a position and publicly attacking it. They are usually accompanied by a herd of minions who parrot whatever absurd position they are taking, sometimes accompanied by links to actual websites!


A website? It must be true!


Yelling into the darkness from the top of your internet mountain is not interactive communication...


I am intentionally being snide about some of these methods to illustrate the point. Interactive communication is most effective when it is actually interactive! Human beings interacting face to face, either in person or remotely, is optimal. Everything else is really something different.


Coda


I am continually amazed at how people behave on social media. I have friends that insist on posting every absurd website that comports with their particularly view of the world (although those on the left are particularly egregious in this area) while completely ignoring any news that challenges their worldview. If you are going to try and save the world through social media, at least have the courage to generate some original content.


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