4 more types of people – email types, phone types, letter types, in-person-meeting types

When you are trying to communicate with someone, getting  their attention is critically important. So communicating  with people when they are the most likely to respond is important. Over time, I started to notice that there is a pattern to this – people respond better when you use their preferred communication mode. This epiphany occurred to me serendipitously. I used to send corporate gifts to a very high-ranking client executive on important occasions like promotions, special recognitions and of course, the holiday season. Amazingly, every single time, I got a written letter by snail mail from this executive. At first, I was  pleasantly surprised to receive a personalized letter from a high-ranking executive such as that. I also noticed that my attempts in contacting this executive via phone, email, meeting request through the assistant to present my ideas  were in vain. Then I put two and two together and wrote a letter to the executive describing my idea. Within 24 hours I got a call from another executive who had been charged with hearing my idea out. Bingo! After this incident, I started paying particular attention to identifying someone’s preferred mode of communication and using that to reach him/her. I have not yet figured out a method to immediately categorize a person. Over time, if you observe which method someone uses more often to reach you, that may be their preferred method. For instance, some people would typically send you an email in response to a voice mail you left them or some would call you in response to an email. Some would also ask you to schedule a meeting with the help of their assistant to discuss. I think these
are clues to determining the preferred communication mode. More importantly, by using the preferred communication mode, you can get a better response for your message. Notes:
1. While this idea is mostly about business communication, even personal communication may have similar patterns. Also, there is the possibility of having 2 preferred modes – say email for business and phone for personal communications. 2. Age may also play a factor. For instance, people that started their careers before the advent of email may not prefer email. If you are trying to reach teenagers, you may want to include Instant Messenger (IM) as the fifth potentially preferred communication mode. 3. Andrew of Custos Honor has blogged about preferred modes of communication!


  1. Anonymous said November 29, 2005, 1:20 pm:

    And do not forget the receiver’s profile (DISC) or their gender or their generation (GenX, Baby boomer etc.) while you communicate through their preferred medium!!

    Oh and of course, nearly 50% of communication happens to be non-verbal. So be prepared that half of what you might be saying through emails, phones, snail mail could be lost or worse – misinterpreted 😉

    And hence the art of writing takes much more importance, and on that topic here is a list of ‘best’ software writing essays collected by Joel of JoelOnSoftware fame.


  2. Anonymous said November 30, 2005, 9:35 am:

    Good point Ganesh. The best essays compilation is superb. I have read some of them.