Face-to-face or personal communication is one of the richest channels of communication that can be used within an organization. Physical presence, the tone of the speaker’s voice and facial expressions help recipients of a message interpret that message as the speaker intends. This is the best channel to use for complex or emotionally charged messages, because it allows for interaction between speaker and recipients to clarify ambiguity. A speaker can evaluate whether an audience has received his message as intended and ask or answer follow-up questions.
TV, radio and loud speakers all fall within the broadcast media communication channel. These types of media should be used when addressing a mass audience. Businesses seeking to notify customers of a new product may advertise or do promotions using a broadcast channel. Similarly, a CEO may do a global company address by having a television feed broadcast across global sites. When a message intended for a mass audience can be enhanced by being presented in a visual or auditory format, a broadcast channel should be used.
A mobile communication channel should be used when a private or more complex message needs to be relayed to an individual or small group. A mobile channel allows for an interactive exchange and gives the recipient the added benefit of interpreting the speaker’s tone along with the message. Some within an organization may opt to use this channel versus a face-to-face channel to save on the time and effort it would take to coordinate a face-to-face meeting.
Electronic communication channels encompass email, Internet, intranet and social media platforms. This channel can be used for one-on-one, group or mass communication. It is a less personal method of communication but more efficient. When using this channel, care must be taken to craft messages with clarity and to avoid the use of sarcasm and innuendo unless the message specifically calls for it.
Written communication should be used when a message that does not require interaction needs to be communicated to an employee or group. Policies, letters, memos, manuals, notices and announcements are all messages that work well for this channel. Recipients may follow up through an electronic or face-to-face channel if questions arise about a written message.