Five Levels of Communicating

Five Levels of Communicating

As startup founders, Will and I enjoy the wide variety of work activities that come our way. The past week covered the entire range of our business – sales, marketing, product development, administration, strategy planning, and relationship building.  It is also highlighted the different interaction of two-way communication that drive our week (and lives). In this blog I want to share the ‘Five Levels of Communicating’ that we’ve observed and their respective ranking.

Diamond Level, the elite:  In-Person Conversation.  Face-to-face, unmasked, and free-flowing.  The oldest form of communication is what we find the most engaging. These conversations trigger new ideas, uncover true passions, and drive us forward. For an entrepreneurial company, we continue to find the premium level of communication vital for our future success.  

Gold Level, the very good:  Video Phone calls. Combining modern tech with old fashioned conversation is second on our list. The ability to combine audio and video is important to help read the room and see emotion while others are talking.  Looks of puzzlement, yawning, and hand-waving ensure the right conversation occurs.  Giving time and pause to ensure this feedback happens can cause the conversation to lag, but work is accomplished. 

Silver Level, the better than other alternatives:  Phone calls.  While visual cues are missing, a conversation can occur to clear up questions quickly, elaborate when needed, and clearly share the latest information.  Provides a great bridge between higher level communications. 

Bronze Level, the convenient when needed (at least we’re off the podium):  Texting back and forth.  Convenient and easy to use.  Provides the simple answers to the simple questions quickly.  Somehow a number of other conversations tend to fall to this level when they would be better served higher up. A quick phone call can accomplish the same thing as a long text thread most the time.  

Last Place, the ‘how did it get to this point’:  The group chat.  Whether via social media, or other channels, the non-verbal group chat always seems to be the most difficult to manage.  A number of factors create no flow to the communication – lack of feedback from others, opinions expressed inelegantly, individuals weighing in at random times.  This communication tends to drive conversation backward instead of forward. While fun at times, this means of comm can be used to often, and get out of hand fast.  

Thinking about how we communicate, and the productivity associated across the five levels, drives how we engage both within our business and develop our product.    

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