I Can Hear You...But I Can't See You: The Disappearance Of In Person Communication
By: Sarah Freeman Junior Marketing Associate, Hospitality and Tourism Specialist
Do graduates even possess this skill anymore? Do people truly make eye contact with you when you are having a conversation with them? DOES FACE TO FACE COMMUNICATION STILL EXIST!? We live in a world where everyone wants and expects immediate results and satisfaction. With the rapid growth of technology in the last decade, face to face communication has become scarce. Email, texts, and phone calls are popular within the workplace in order to communicate a message as fast as possible. But what does this mean in terms of work place culture? How do your employees feel about the channels of communication you are using? Take a minute and reflect on the quality of the relationships you have within your office. How often do you communicate with your co-workers or employees without using some form of technology to help you? My issue with this topic is that we have become TOO dependent on using technology as a channel for communication. That’s not to say phone calls, email, text and so on shouldn’t be used at all, but face to face communication needs to stop being put on the back burner. Here is why…
Face to face communication is necessary to build relationships
Building a good relationship with your staff and co-workers is necessary in the success of the company. People want to feel like you care about them, genuinely. Communicating via email and text all the time will not fulfill that feeling. Building strong relationships will also build trust. If your employees feel as though you care about them and appreciate their hard work, your business will see increased productivity and in turn, increased success. Face to face communication will help create a sense of community within your business and help shape and grow the culture of your company.
Messages that are sent via email and text can be misunderstood very easily. The way you word a message might mean one thing to you, but someone else could interpret what you say in a completely different way. This can cause problems, misunderstandings, and possibly even hurt feelings. The tone of the message could also be unclear or come off to the receiver in a way you did not intend it to. Face to face communication lessens the chances of these types of situations and problems to occur.
Non-verbal cues are KEY
Of course, these can only be seen through face to face communication. These include things like body language, gestures, facial expressions, posture, eye contact, and so on. A study done by UCLA reported that 93% of effective communication comes from nonverbal cues. Listen with your eyes when it comes to face to face communication, the words coming out of someone’s mouth might not match their nonverbal cues. Susan Heathfield, a writer for The Balance, stated, “The best communicators are sensitive to the power of the emotions and thoughts communicated nonverbally.”
We need to stop relying on emails and texts to get our messages across to our audience as fast as possible. Is speed more important than effectiveness? Today’s generation, and those of the future, lack and will lack effective communication skills – which is one of the most vital things to possess. My boss once said to me, “It is important be able to articulate the point you are trying to make, you cannot be successful if you are deficient in communication.” So, what does this mean for future generations entering the workforce? Will face to face communication one day be listed as outdated next to floppy discs and printed maps? Or will it make a comeback like chokers and top knots? The rate at which technology continues to evolve is amazing, but don’t let it get in the way of forming authentic relationships inside AND out of the workplace.
Sarah Freeman is a Junior Marketing Associate and world traveler specializing in hospitality and tourism. Connect with her on Linkedin here.