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What’s your go-to form of communication in the workplace? While some can explain things better in emails, others might prefer a phone call or in-person conversation. With the rise of technology, workplaces are starting to communicate via instant messaging, text messaging, and social media to clients and colleagues, too. Certain situations call for different communication styles, however. Not sure if the style you’re about to choose is appropriate? We’re here to help. Check out our breakdown and ask yourself these questions before you choose the appropriate communication style.

When you should communicate via phone call

  • Is what I need immediate?
  • Am I looking for clarification?
  • Is what I’m asking just a simple yes or no question?
  • Am I congratulating someone?
  • Am I sincerely thanking someone?
  • Is who I’m calling usually hard to get a hold of?
  • Have I already emailed and not gotten the response I hoped for?

woman on the phone

When you should communicate via email

  • Am I addressing more than one person at a time with the same message?
  • Is what I’m sharing general thoughts or ideas?
  • Am I setting up a meeting with several people?
  • Is there no immediate deadline to what I’m asking for?
  • Are there extra documents/images my recipients need to be aware of?
  • Am I following up with information after a brief phone call?


When you should communicate in-person

  • Is the message I’m trying to get across emotional or complicated?
  • Will what I’m trying to say potentially start an argument?
  • Am I giving someone feedback?
  • Am I congratulating someone?
  • Am I sincerely thanking someone?


We hope that these questions can help you communicate more effectively in the workplace, with colleagues and clients alike!