Technology has revolutionised the way we communicate. From emails to messenger apps, and the whole plethora of project management tools available to facilitate communication and networking. However, is it always the most effective way to communicate? And is the art of actual conversation being lost to our detriment?
Written electronic communication has many benefits including:
- it can be completed at any time, in the office or in transit
- it can be accessed via a multitude of devices such as tablets and mobile phones
- it enables you to share information with a group of individuals efficiently
- it provides a written record of that communication, for future referral and audit
But is it really the most efficient method we could use?
Many individuals would argue that it maximises efficiency however, it is well documented that written communication is less effective than talking and can lead to misinterpretation of data, attitude, and intent. This could have a range of repercussions from simply requiring you to reiterate an instruction, thus taking more time, to the loss of work or the permanent damage of a business relationship.
How many times have you engaged in an email conversation requiring multiple responses that could have been clarified within seconds over the phone? Or worse begun a task only to find that the recipient had unintentionally misdirected you resulting in wasted time and the need for repeated work. All for the lack of opening up a dialogue facilitating instant Q & A.
It happens to us all. We are all under pressure to perform and improve efficiency. We have begun to shy away from a phone call for multiple reasons including:
- the benefits of electronic communication as listed above
- a perception of wasted time over small talk
- anxiety over confrontation
- not feeling in the mood to talk
- or even anxiety with regard to our ability to best represent ourselves using this method of communication
- you can clarify the points of the dialogue much more rapidly
- you better develop a relationship with your clients or colleagues
- you can improve your verbal communication skills
- you engage directly and may even stimulate opportunity
- you get to engage with another human being (a benefit most relevant at this time)
Obviously following a phone call you may have to write an email to provide clarification of the points discussed and distribute the information to multiple parties, but I would wager that this is still more beneficial than initiating an email debate.
As we are all aware, human contact and communication during lockdown is a luxury, but it also has many benefits that transcend our current situation. The next time you go to start an email, consider picking up your phone instead and start that conversation. You may just be surprised where it takes you, and what opportunities present themselves.