Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Value of Face and Phone – NOT Facebook, Texting Or E-mail

They consider this "talking to each other"

Interpersonal communication is becoming a lost art.  Technology has created a generation that prefers electronic communication to actual conversation and we are just now starting to experience the negative ramifications. 
Since the day of the caveman, facial expressions, vocal intonation and body language have helped people understand each other and share ideas.  Without these key elements of communication, misunderstandings happen frequently.  Passion, urgency and a deeper understanding can be lost.  Questions and clarifications are often left “unspoken” because it takes too long to write.
You can probably site several examples where e-mail, text or an on-line post created hard feelings or a misunderstanding between co-workers or friends.  Too often people hide behind the written word when they do not want to confront the person face to face.  It is easier to be negative and accusatory when you do not have to see the person’s reaction.   No matter how many times a manager preaches “use e-mail for information and recaps only”, you still have those employees that use it for critique and questions.
It is important to remember that electronic communication is read from the perspective of the person reading it.  If they are having a bad day, had a bad experience with the topic you chose or had a confrontation with you the last time you spoke, your message will be read defensively no matter how you try to approach it.
Another challenge is the loss of creativity.  There is a magic that happens when humans brainstorm together that you cannot capture in electronic communication.  Seeing and hearing someone’s enthusiasm will often trigger more creative ideas in others.  Concepts evolve and usually improve when people are in the same room sharing ideas. 
Electronic communication can also stifle productivity.   If you have to go back and forth more than two times, PICK UP THE PHONE or WALK DOWN THE HALL!   A conversation can take two or three minutes where the game of e-mail ping pong can go on for an hour.  
It is time to return to more face to face conversation.  Teach your children to understand the importance of body language and facial expressions.  Encourage your friends and co-workers to meet in person, communicate by phone and cut down on the use of e-mail and texting.   Relationships, Creativity and Productivity will all improve.  


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