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Chapter 22. Knowing Your Communication M... > How Communication Media Differ - Pg. 233

Knowing Your Communication Media 233 Insider Secrets Although we live in a fast-food world, fast communication is often not good communication. With that speed comes a higher likelihood that the message will be misunderstood. The faster messages are created and the faster they are received, the more likely there will be miscommunication. And that means more conflict. Why? Because speed means less thought. The faster the communication, the less people think about what they communicate, and the less people read carefully. That results in misunderstandings. Interactivity of Communication Interactivity refers to the degree to which two people can interact in real time. For example, sitting in the same room talking, both people can communicate with each other immediately. There isn't much of a time gap between what one person says and the other person says. People respond to each other immediately. Telephones are similar. Letters are the least interactive. One person sends the letter. There's a gap of time for delivery. Then the other person reads and responds. The process can take several days. Employee Handbook Interactivity refers to the degree to which two people can interact in real time. A highly interactive process allows both parties to communicate information to each other at the same time, as in a face-to-face situation. A less-interactive process only allows communication in sequence, one at a time. That's the case with e-mail. E-mail is somewhere in the middle. It's like a fast exchange of letters, but sometimes it can be just as slow, depending on how quickly each party responds. That actually can be a problem if each person in an e-mail conversation participates at a different pace. When one person wants it to go fast and the other wants it to go slow, conflict results. Spontaneity and Formality Some communication methods encourage spontaneity in communication. For example, when you talk face-to-face, you don't spend a great deal of time planning out what you're saying. You say what pops into your head. Same with the phone. When you write a letter or a memo, you tend to think it out. E-mail is kind of the oddball here. While it might seem logical that it would be like writing a letter, it's not. It's a far more spontaneous medium than letter writing. In fact, most people treat e-mail like a real-time conversation.