The medium through which a message reaches an audience is a communication channel. The audience can be your internal or external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders are people within your organization, such as your workforce and managerial team. On the other hand, your key customers, prospective buyers, investors, and vendors constitute external customers.
A few examples of such communication are as follows.
Internal Stakeholders: You might send an update to your company’s employees about a new organizational change.
External Stakeholders: You are about to launch a new product. And, you send a few prospects in your sales funnel some marketing messages. It could also be as simple as sending your existing customers a greeting.
There are a variety of ways that you can send these communications. The traditional face-to-face and written communication channels are great for certain activities. Then there are the more new-age channels like mobile and digital.
Even newer channels like video messages combine the benefits of old and new channels. Bigvu has an engaging guide on how you can use such cutting-edge channels. For example, video emails allow you to share your body language, tone of voice, and sincerity in your communication.
An oral channel is considered the richest way for you to get your message across. These include things like face-to-face, telephonic conversations, customer presentations. They also include video meetings, conferences, and lectures. The messages delivered through this medium have a low level of distortion. That is because the audience also perceives your body language and the intonation of your voice. Apart from the message itself, these provide a separate layer of meaning.
Additionally, this medium also has the advantage of instant feedback. This medium, however, is the most labor-intensive. The number of individuals involved in this channel is the highest in number. They are highly effective in delivering sensitive messages.
For example, when there is a likelihood of layoffs in a company, you, as the leader, should use an oral channel. It will create a sense of assurance in your employees, avoid anxiety, and be used externally. If, for instance, you are about to discontinue a product that is crucial for a small set of customers.
Emails, text messages, reports, spreadsheets, memos are all a part of this channel. These types of communication are sparser. Thus, you must give appropriate context to what you are writing. Without this, the words in the messages might get interpreted incorrectly. You must also ensure that you remind the reader to inquire and clarify anything ambiguous. With this form of communication, you cannot guarantee that your message has been seen. Since these types of communication are received in large numbers, yours might just get lost in the crowd.
However, they have their uses. When you write something to your customer, they have the liberty to absorb it over a long period. It also allows you to send a large amount of information to your customer at one time. When you need to send complex materials that need to be studied, this is the best form. Contracts, proposals, and price quotations are some good examples of this type of communication.
Traditional modes of electronic communication are television and radio broadcasts. In comparison, newer modes are social media, web pages, and blogs. This channel has the broadest reach and is the quickest medium. This channel also allows for segmented marketing and will enable you to deliver targeted marketing messages.
This channel is highly efficient, yet it does carry some inherent risks. Hacking has become a serious threat to this type of communication. The technology that enables electronic communication is vulnerable, especially when a company stores unencrypted data. Cybercriminals can steal sensitive customer files and private communications.
So which channel do you choose? A rule that you can follow is this. The more the emotional component of the message, the richer the medium needs to be. When you need to send a very quick standard message, like scheduling an urgent meeting, an email will work best.
What if you need to cancel a lunch meeting? Then a personal phone call works much better. In reality, though, channels work best in combination. After a face-to-face customer meeting, the best idea would be to give them written notes of the meeting. It ensures that both parties have the same understanding of the terms and provides scope for future reference.