Reading any type of communication in text makes it difficult to assess the tone of the “speaker” unless you know that person well. Jane’s email seems important, and her tone almost sounds frantic, but in such a way that she’s trying to cover up how frantic she is. It’s difficult to tell if the tone is a bit bossy, or if it’s completely professional, and even friendly. However, I did notice that she was very clear about what she needed, and almost wrote as though she is a manager, so I wonder if she could be the lead on a project they are completing together.
For me, I had mostly the same impression from the audio that I did from the written text. I wondered if Jane could be Mark’s boss, but after hearing the way she spoke to him it sounded as if they are simply teammates and that she needs something from him. Tone, obviously, is not difficult to interpret in a voicemail. Jane’s voicemail sounded less formal than her email.
The video again made me wonder if Jane could be a PM or boss. She only smiled at the very beginning of her request, and then was professional and formal in her facial expressions. Had I watched the video first, it’s likely I would have assumed she is definitely a manager of some sort, but after reading and listening to the other two first I still can’t be sure.
Portny et al. (2008) describe that there are two types of communication: formal and informal (p. 357). Based on the way they define these types, it’s clear to me that the first example of the message (the email) could be taken either way, depending on the context surrounding the message. It could be formal because it was “preplanned and conducted in a standard format in accordance with an established schedule” or it could be informal because it occurred as Jane thought of information to share (Portny et al., 2008, p. 357). The voicemail was definitely more informal because of the inflection of Jane’s voice, and because it sounded as if it was something not that imperative that she just happened to think of and wanted to let Mark know about. As for the video, my opinion is that it was formal communication. Jane did not laugh or make light of any parts of what she had to say, and she was straightforward with her request.
I think that a combination of the face-to-face request and an email would be the most effective; the email would reiterate what had been said, and there would be a paper-trail to document everything. What I realized from my own reactions is that if the person making the request makes light of what they’re asking for or jokes around, it’s possible that the person being asked will assume it’s not a big deal. I learned that it’s vital to be concise and clear about what you want, and to communicate it in such a way that will come across as professional. I’ve always been a supporter of the follow-up email, and it’s definitely something I will continue to do.
Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.