My interpretation of the first message, the email, was that it was a bit pushy. It also seemed to repeat the pronouns “your,” “I” and “my” which seemed to make the message personal in a bad way; it seemed to push the idea that there is a problem and “you” and “your” report are the cause of it.
In the second message, the voice mail, I didn’t feel as if the sender of the message was being so pushy. The tone of her voice sounded like she was a bit worried about missing her own deadline, but it was also soft to a point that made the message far less pushy than the email. Also, in the email, the two softer points made–that she understood Mark was in a meeting all day and the sign off, “I really appreciate your help”–didn’t really have much of an affect on me. They just felt like standard greetings and goodbyes that people put in emails. In the voice mail, on the other hand, the tone and inflection in the speaker’s voice made those two softer points stand out and feel more genuine.
In the face to face message, we had the benefit of having vocal intonations and facial and body expressions, which made the message even more palatable. The benefits of the positive vocal intonations that were present in the voicemail were also present in the face to face message, and they even seemed to be a bit softer and less pushy than in the voicemail. In addition to that, we had the benefits of the speaker’s body language. The speaker’s body language was very slow and relaxed and she oftentimes tilted her head to the side, which made her spoken words very non-threatening. Like the voicemail, I felt that the speaker really meant it when she said that she would really appreciate Mark’s help.
What all this means to me is that messages need to be strategically designed depending on which delivery method is being used. When written messages are being sent, we lose the positive benefits of non-verbal communication, such as vocal intonation and body movements. Because of this, written messages need to carefully worded to make them feel soft and sincere. With the presence of non-verbal communication, on the other hand, we can afford to send more direct messages, as their meanings are greatly affected by the way in which we deliver them.