Guide: The Tools of Communication


Boy singing into a microphone
Yelling is only acceptable when you're excited.

How do you ever get big projects done? How do you find information? How do you gain consensus? How do you make sure people are informed?


Through communication of course!


How you communicate can easily make or break you and/or whatever it is you’re involved in. Let’s look at some of the basic modes & mediums of communication, and how each might be used most effectively.


Modes of Communication

  • Written | If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time communicating through text. Chat and text messages, emails, and maybe even <gasp!> printed documents!

  • Visual | This can be a variety of things. Videos, still images, diagrams or charts, or maybe some complex arrangement of waving a flag around.

  • Auditory | The sounds that our brains are trained to interpret into concepts. This includes speaking to others, morse code, and music.

Mediums & Best Applications

  • Email | The grand age of emailing everything may be slowly coming to an end, but for now it is still here to stay. Email is great for sending facts. If something is subject to interpretation, especially if it is important, don’t use email to communicate. You will end up in email hell with all the CC’s and BCC’s you fear to imagine.

  • Text Chat | Text messages and chat tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams can be fantastic ways to collaborate! Quick questions and updates are the best for this medium. Trying to collaborate over this medium will be tedious and wrought with lack of clarity.

  • Voice | Whether over a phone, a computer, or in person, voice communication is a solid second only to a combination of audio/visual. When people can hear your inflection and pacing they can glean a ton of information about what you are saying, how important it is, and how you might be feeling about the topic at hand. Not only that, voice communication takes far less time and effort than typing your thoughts out. Great for collaboration and conveying important information.

  • Visual | Visual communication is tied for second most effective of all because it allows the humans seeing the information to understand much more in a shorter amount of time. A single chart, image, or video can convey information that would have taken hours to type or many minutes to explain through speech.

  • Audio/Visual | The absolute best way to convey important concepts to the most amount at once is through audio/visual communication. A video with sound/speaking, especially when done live, can accomplish a ton in a very short amount of time – especially when the recipients of it can interact with the presenter to ask questions and discuss.

Regardless of where you are on the ladder of business or society, it only helps to be mindful of how you are communicating. So often we send an email or a text that we later regret because we didn’t think about lost context, time delays, or otherwise. Be a comms hero by spending a second or two thinking about whether the mode and medium you are using is appropriate for your message. You never know, you might save some face!


Interested in becoming better at communication? Drop the Protagonist team a line here.