Lean media vs well-off media

Read in this blog post how to pick the ideal medium of communication with your team. We look at the principle of media richness and also how it affects huguy communication. Learn when to usage affluent and also once to usage lean media.

You are watching: Which of the following communication channels is considered the richest medium?

Suitable interaction channels

I’ve done it. Sending out that critical message in an e-mail that raises even more concerns than it answers. That is leaving your team uncertain if they have actually done something wrong or unspecific of the future. Instead of sending that email, you must have just had actually a phone speak to or a conversation.

Especially via remote team members, the tendency to use asynchronous communication is high.

On the other hand, who hasn’t been to a meeting that should have been an email? Because they make coffee mugs with that saying (I very own one), I figure it’s a widespread difficulty.

So what are we talking about here? The principle behind these things is media richness theory: the amount of data brought by a communication medium in terms of sheer data volume and — even more importantly — in regards to data selection and the possibility for instant feedago.


Characteristics of different Types of communication medium

Face-to-challenge interaction is by much the wealthiest medium, as it carries a huge selection of information (verbal and also visual cues) and also enables for immediate feedago that’s simply as rich as the initial message. Think of exactly how much your communication partner’s body language will tell you.

Video Calls are obviously much less rich, yet will certainly still allow you to see gestures and also other non-verbal communication.

Voice Calls, e.g. on you mobile phone, strip you of all non-verbal information and also such are currently far less affluent. But still, they sell the possibility for prompt feedback.

The initially asynchronous medium on the list is Instant Messaging, likewise SMS would certainly be part of this team of communication networks. Not only can’t you hear the voice anyeven more, however likewise there’s no prompt feedback anyeven more.

Social Media is generally even more asynchronous than prompt messaging.

E-mail, being the many popular tool in company communication, is a quite lean medium and shouldn’t be used to communicate complex or ambiguous indevelopment.

On the finish of the range, a standardized report consisting mainly of numbers would be the leacolony tool.

Choose the right medium

Lean media vs affluent media: Effective interaction will call for you to pick the best interaction channel for the topic at hand. To determine the best tool for communicating indevelopment, you must look at the nature of that indevelopment.

How familiar are your recipients with the content and context of your message? Is it routine? How clear is your information? Will it mean the same for everyone, or will its interpretation change in various circumstances or contexts?

If your message is program and also unambiguous, you mainly have the right to count on lean media layouts like emails or reports. Or take press statements for example: Companies issue created statements for easy-to-understand also, non-ambiguous and also uncritical messages.

However, if your message is ambiguous and also nonprogram, you should choose a richer tool, choose a video contact or a face-to-face conversation.To stay in the above example, for even more complicated or even critical information (such as in crises), suppliers will certainly the majority of most likely usage a press conferences over push statements, as they allow for well-off communication and also prompt feedago.

Just imagine how you controlled with the initially weeks of Covid-19. You a lot of most likely didn’t depend on email but supplied exceptionally instantaneous interaction like calls or video calls to instantly capture feedback and also be able to respond to concerns.

Uhh yeah, I heard it via the grapevine (singing)

Usually speaking, as soon as it concerns selecting the ideal medium for communicating through your team, your task as a CEO or entrepreneur is to balance two effects that your choice of interaction medium will have actually on your company.

On the one hand also, if you usage an overly affluent tool for a fairly dull message, you are most likely wasting time and sources — for example, if one of your team members calls a meeting (super-high media richness) to tell the team he will be off 30 minutes beforehand to check out the dentist (super unambiguous message).

That sort of waste is unnecessary and also will certainly fuddle with the medium’s permanent credibility. When you have to attend 10 meetings a week that “can have been an e-mail,” your appreciation for that format will decrease.


On the other hand also, utilizing a lean tool for an ambiguous, nonregime message will cause troubles — for instance, if you usage e-mail to communicate a restructuring of your company.

For you as a sender, this bears a high hazard that your team will not decipher the complete message bereason you can’t encertain they obtain eincredibly part of it. There’s no instant feedback.

Also, if an email doesn’t make feeling, your team can’t quickly acquire any kind of lacking indevelopment. What carry out you think happens once information is missing? Your team will uncover it in other places. Yup, the grapevine.

There’s nopoint wrong with the grapevine itself; it is a crucial nonformal communication instrument. But, if you want to get your message across as intended, you want to manage it as much as possible — and you don’t desire to leave it to the grapevine.

Your infinish interaction will certainly cause lessened acceptance of your message, a delay in implementation or compliance, and so on.

It counts.

Next to the basic rules, some contingencies exist about the right alternative of media.

Social acceptance

Consider the social acceptance of a medium on a social, business, team, and also individual level.

Text messages are thought about also imindividual for breaking up via your partner. How could email be sufficiently wealthy to tell someone that you’re letting them go?

Things questioned in a meeting in one company or team will be sent around as a report in one more company.

One of your employees could prefer receiving brand-new jobs by email, while an additional one appreciates a personal briefing.

On an individual level, your relationship to the receiver is essential — you could use message messaging to scheduling a drink through your ideal frifinish, but you might tackle the very same task in perchild through your new employee.

Social Presence Effect

You could deliberately pick not to connect face-to-face in some situations: the existence of one communication companion might intimidate the various other one.

To avoid this so-referred to as Social Presence Effect, you deserve to include a leaner medium to prepare a well-off medium. For example, you could collect employee concerns for the CEO prior to the tvery own hall meeting instead of asking employees directly at the meeting — you might acquire an unfiltered collection of concerns without the CEO existing.

Remote work

How does every one of this apply to your team members who job-related remotely? By default, face-to-face communication is impossible for them.

My tip is trifold:

For facility content, select the wealthiest mediums at your disposal, such as video conferencing.

Echo the indevelopment that’s important to you. Echo the information that’s essential to you.

Ask your team members the questions that would certainly inherently be answered in a richer medium: “Did this answer your question?,” “Do you understand also my point?,” “Do you agree via my see on this?,” and also so on. This might feel awkward, however it will improve your interactions with remote team members.

What to take away

For a vital message, any type of created format is most likely not the finest medium. Don’t usage it.

Use rich media choose face-to-confront or calls in times of high ambiguity, such as when implementing brand-new processes. Once points end up being routine, switch to leaner communication (emails or reports).

Question your interaction habits: Can you increase the efficiency of regime tasks by switching to a leaner medium?

Pay close attention to the individual interaction layouts of your team members and also the organization. One size doesn’t fit all.

Actually pretty straightforward, right?

If the principle is so easy, why is it regularly ignored?

Guts and also Patience.

You gained to have the guts: Face any kind of potential problem. If you sfinish an email to protect against an uncomfortable conversation, the conversation will certainly almost absolutely take place in an even even more unpleasant means.

Be patient: Resist the temptation to just clean your desk by sending out composed indevelopment. Schedule individual meetings rather if you have actually a nonroutine message to convey (continue to be tuned for a short article on meetings!) or at leastern use the wealthiest tool you can.

Be conscious that your communication abilities, and as part thereof the indicates of interaction you select, identify the interaction society that your agency creates.

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