In today’s digital age the importance of face-to-face communication is fading as one can go almost an entire day without actually interacting with people. People rely heavily on the convenience of emails, text messages, and social media. While it is impossible to deny the importance of these platforms and the way that they have revolutionized communication, it is important to balance these online interactions with face-to-face communication.
The Digital Dilemma
One issue with digital forms of communication is that they tend to be impersonal. Moreover, trying to make your digital communications seem more friendly or personalized runs the risk of being misinterpreted or viewed as unprofessional.
Miscommunication is one of the major causes of inefficiency and work-place conflicts. Many of these issues can be attributed digital communications and the various ways they can be interpreted.
“When we assume that other people know what we’re thinking, and what we are expecting of them, we do them a real disservice. Assuming that we’ve been clear about what we wanted, we blame them when things don’t go as planned.”
– Heidi Grant Halvorson, Forbes
You can gauge how interested someone is in what you are talking about by reading their body language. If you are in a meeting and your colleagues are fiddling with their pens, or checking their watches, you know that you have to
- adjust the tone of your voice or
- use more exciting language to capture their attention.
Likewise, if colleagues and partners are actively nodding their heads and smiling, it is clear that they are engaged with you and your message.
Face-to-face communication and in-person meetings can boost efficiency. Instead of spending an entire day e-mailing back and forth, you can hash out all of the details of a project in one go. These meeting can also boost creativity as the overall energy will be higher so you can brainstorm and solve a multitude of problems at one time.
Face-to-face communication can also be much more effective for those who may struggle with written communication. Everyone has their own unique set of skills, and some people are much more fluid and clear with verbal communication.
A Personal Touch
Adding the “personal touch” of face-to-face communication is much more important to those dealing with outside clients and stakeholders. A sense of community comes with the ability to interact and socialize. This sets the foundation for trust, and ultimately creates a better working relationship.
While face-to-face communication is not always an option due to distance or conflicting schedules, it is important that you do not forget about it completely. Whenever possible, take the time to interact with your colleagues face-to-face and enjoy the benefits.
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