While electronic communication -- email, blogs, social media, etc. -- has consumed the attention of many, traditional communication channels still have their place and can still be very effective in meeting the business needs of individuals, departments and organizations. Knowing about the benefits, drawbacks and opportunities these traditional tools represent can help businesses maximize their communication effectiveness.

Face-to-Face Communication

Despite the widespread availability of technology, studies continue to show that when it comes to communicating, we prefer doing it face-to-face. A survey by K HR Solutions showed that 56 percent of the survey participants preferred face-to-face communication with their boss and more than 50 percent preferred face-to-face communication with their colleagues. While text messaging and email make it easier than ever to avoid communicating face-to-face, this and other studies strongly suggest the need to maintain that personal connection.


When face-to-face communication isn't possible, the next best thing may be the telephone. The telephone still allows for a verbal connection and provides nonverbal cues based on voice tone, variation and pauses. Tools like Skype now make it possible to speak with people literally around the world through an online phonelike connection, that may also include video images. But, surveys by the Telephone Doctor show that more than 80 percent of all business transactions involve a phone call at some point, clearly supporting the ongoing relevance of this traditional communication channel.

Team Meetings

In support of the value of face-to-face communication, team meetings continue to be an important way for organizations to interact. Whether these meetings take place in a single location through live interactions or over the Internet through the use of technology that allows people to connect from multiple locations, the ability to get together with colleagues, managers, customers or vendors through team meetings can help to build relationships and achieve common objectives.

While many organizations are taking advantage of the low cost and flexibility of producing and distributing online e-letters, the print newsletter still has its place. In fact, according to Folio's 2009 publishing survey, print publications remain the top product for respondents, with 88 percent offering print titles; 81 percent of respondents offer electronic newsletters (while 40 percent still offer print newsletters). There is value in a print product, particularly in organizations where employees may not have ready access to computers -- for instance in health care where nurses and other clinical staff are working on the floors rather than at desks.