Working in diverse teams
Working in diverse teams

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Working in diverse teams

4.3 The importance of clear communication

While communication has been made easier with the advent of digital media, it does bring its own problems. Some visual cues, such as gestures and facial expressions, get lost in digital communication. For example, there are visual cues that you could pick up were you in the same room, but that get lost in a video call or conference. This can lead to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Effective communication patterns are the biggest indicator of performance, so anything that gets in the way of you communicating your meaning clearly needs to be attended to.

In email communication, it is much easier for the meaning of your words to get lost or misunderstood as the reader of the email has no context to judge the way you are saying this. Are you meaning to be jokey or serious, for example? If the person was in front of you and speaking to you, then you would be able to judge the meaning from body language and tone of voice.

Albert Mehrabian’s work from the 1960s and early 1970s, which is still considered as valid today, showed that as much as 35–40% of your message is communicated by the tone of your voice and as little as 7% by the actual words (BusinessBalls, 2017) (Figure 5).

Described image
Figure 5 Mehrabian’s communication pie chart

Without non-verbal and tonal clues to give you the sense of the way you meant the words to be heard, it is easy for misinterpretation to slip in.

For virtual work, it is clear that written communication skills in particular need to be well honed and that the virtual worker needs to be an expert in communicating their message without the usual aids we rely on in face-to-face communication.

Activity 3 The 7 Cs of communication

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch this short video from MindTools which explains the 7 Cs of communication.

Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Now make a note in Table 2 of what each of the 7 Cs stand for.

Table 2 The 7 Cs of clear communication

C
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
C
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
C
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
C
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
C
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
C
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
C
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Words: 0
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Discussion

Table 2 (completed) The 7 Cs of clear communication

Clear
Concise
Concrete
Correct
Coherent
Complete
Courteous

Next you will look in more detail at the different types of technology that can be used in virtual team-working.

WDT_1

Take your learning further371

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses372.

If you are new to university level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. Find out Where to take your learning next?373 You could either choose to start with an Access courses374or an open box module, which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification.

Not ready for University study then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn375 and sign up to our newsletter376 to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371