In the Zone

Types Of Communication and Resolving Conflict

Informal Communication

  • This is an abbreviated form of communication that is obviously more causal in nature. We use this every day in our short conversations with friends and family, whether it be over the phone, texting, on social media, or in passing. It is important to acknowledge when and where this type of communication is appropriate and warranted and whom to use it with.
How to Email Your Professor--NOT! ;)

Professional Communication

  • In contrast, professional communication is more detail oriented form than previously discussed. This form is more thorough in nature and is often used in communication with faculty, bosses, or others in a professional setting.
How To: Communicate with Professors
How to Speak to Professors: a Comprehensive Guide








  • Email
    • Be sure this is professional and use your school email instead of your personal one. Avoid any “Hey Dude” greetings by using a formal greeting. Also, include a detailed message with proper grammar and spelling, as well as a formal ending.
    • Avoid emails like this
Bad Email Reply - What not to say to your professor...
  • Phone
    • Before you pick up the phone to call a professor or leave a voicemail, think first. Be prepared for what you are going to say. Follow up by introducing yourself and speak in a clear manner. In terms of a voicemail, be concise and end both a phone call and voicemail in a professional manner.    
  • Text
    • If texting is necessary, it can be done in a professional manner. It is important to acknowledge the difference form a casual text to a friend. Grab some contextual clues. Feel it out to be sure the person you are texting is comfortable with texting. Keep it professional by only texting when it is important. If it can wait, don’t text. Text messaging should be saved for time-sensitive information,when emailing wouldn't generate a response quickly enough.  Do not use abbreviations or emoticons in professional texts.

Healthy Communication

  • If these forms of communication are not used or are used in the wrong context, conflict may arise. It is perfectly normal to have conflicts with friends or roommates, everyone has them. In fact, there is a great deal to be learned from handling a difficult situation maturely and respectfully. Communication sometimes breaks down and you may have to confront your friend or roommate with an issue that one of you has with the other.

How to tell there is an issue:

  • Your friend or roommate may not want to talk to you, may leave the room when you enter, or may be complaining to friends about you.
  • Your friend or roommate may become annoyed with you over little things.

Healthy communication to resolve conflict:

If you start to notice these things you should not ignore them. If a problem is addressed early, there is a better chance of it being worked out.

  • Approach individual(s)
    • Usually in private in better and confirm that it is a good time communicate effectively. It is better to do in person and not over phone or text. Communicating conflict in person decreases the chance for misinterpretation.
  • Be direct but not aggressive
    • Be clear to what is causing the conflict in way that is not offensive or intimidating. Try to avoid “you” statements and try to use “I” statements.
  • Be patient through listening
    • Communication works two ways: talking and listening. Neither one is effective without the other
  • Evaluate needs of both sides
    • Work to create a win-win situation, and the conflict is more likely to be resolved. Make sure the solution is acceptable to both parties and be open for compromise
  • Respect the differences and strive for a mutual resolution
    • Everyone has different values, lifestyles, expectations, and communication styles. Get to know each other and establish common ground.
Ask A Roomate: How Do I Talk To My Roommate?