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Business Review - Choosing the Right Tool

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Effective leaders know which communication tool to use to be efficient. David Dye, President of let’s grow leaders, clarifies when to use an email and when a face to face meeting may be more powerful.

Effective leaders know which communication tool to use to be efficient. David Dye, President of let’s grow leaders, clarifies when to use an email and when a face to face meeting may be more powerful.

Many leaders fall into traps when they're using the wrong form of communication for the right purpose and vice versa. And so there are times you should send an email and there are times you should hold a meeting. And you're only going to be effective as a leader if you use the right tool for the right job.

There are two types of variables in modern communication. There is time and there is location and so you can have communication at different times or at the same time. You can do it in the same location or in different locations. And how those intersect depends on the tool that you're going to use.

Dye explains that deciding how quickly a decision needs to be made and the emotional content will help to determine which form of communication to use.

You want to use the right tool for the right job and basically a way to think about that is the faster the decision needs to be made and the more emotional content you want to use a higher bandwidth tool. So face to face meetings are number one. So a sign on the refrigerator has zero emotional content and zero urgency it happens when it happens. But a face to face meeting has maximum bandwidth and all of the emotional content is present in the room because we can see each other. On the other hand, you don't want to use face to face meetings for low emotional non-urgent communication, a meeting recap. That's better done via email and so you don't want to send an email when you need to have a meeting and you don't want to have a meeting when it's better to send an email. When it comes to leadership communication, the most important thing is to know that different tools have different purposes and use the right tool for the right purpose.

The Business Review is a production of KWBU, Livingston & McKay, and the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University.