Communication Vehicle

Selecting the right medium for communication to achieve a specific purpose or result is perhaps just as important as what you say or write. Some communication vehicles are more effective in a business setting while others might be better saved for more personal matters. 

The chart below shares some tips and cautions for each mode of communication.

Communication Tool

Typically best for

Typically not recommended for


·   Quick, concise communication

·   Creating informal “dated” records

·   Sharing information

·   Sending soft copy documents

·  Airing disagreement or having an argument

·   Sharing emotional or knee-jerk reactions

·   Sending something you might regret and creating a paper trail that might create a problem now or in the future


·    Brief direct communication

·    Time sensitive/urgent info

·    Interactions with familiar audiences – friends and family

·    Complicated or ambiguous information

·    Business communication, unless requested


·    Warm introductions

·    Creating a personal connection

·    Items that require discussion or decision where both parties must agree

·    Highly detailed or voluminous information

·    Bad news

·    When an in-person meeting is possible and preferable

Voice Mail

·    Creating a personal connection

·    Leaving brief details

·   Highly detailed content

·    Critical information

·    Bad news


·    Formal introduction

·    Follow up to an important meeting

·    Recapping details of an agreement

·    Binding commitments that have been thoughtfully and legally reviewed

·    Urgent matters that need to be handled immediately

·    Sending something you might regret and creating a paper trail that might create a problem now or in the future


·    Building relationships

·    Crucial conversations

·    Launching a project

·    Establishing a common goal

·    When a phone call would accomplish the same goal

·    When a relationship or project is already established and another medium will do


·    Building relationships

·    Enhancing communication when face-to-face contact is not possible

·    Sharing thoughts or a point of view

·    Anything that you would not want your parents, children, future employer or the general public to see on the six o’clock news

Web & Social Media - Professional

Creating professional visibility and credibility. Can include sites such as:

·    LinkedIn

·    Twitter comments and links

·    Professional website

·    Facebook business page

·    Google Plus

· Sharing personal information or private photos

Web & Social Media - Personal

Remaining connected with personal friends, family, and social network. Can include sites such as:

·   Facebook – personal page

·  Instagram – photo sharing

·   Pinterest – personal interest


· Connecting with professional contacts or potential contacts. Modify settings so that people who are not in your approved contacts list cannot see private information. 

Take Action:

Now, think about different information or ideas that you need to communicate today or in the near future, use this checklist and the guide above to make sure you have done your due diligence and picked the correct medium of communication for each.

  • I have chosen the right medium for my audience.
  • My communication is clear and concise.
  • I have used a professional tone.
  • My message is on point and unlikely to be misconstrued.
  • I have proofread my communication to ensure it is thorough, cohesive, and free of errors.
  • My communication represents my thoughts, values and best work.
  • If I am sending an email with an attachment, I have verified that I have attached the correct document.
  • If I am sending an email, I have made sure I am sending it to the correct address and only to the people who need this information.
  • I have dated the document and have clarified what I am seeking in a response and by when.
  • If my communication were printed on the front page of the local paper, on YouTube or played on the 6 o’clock news, I would not be embarrassed.

Download this activity as a worksheet