With all of the communication options we have, which is the best, when and for what? Technology is amazing and has provided us with different ways of communication than was available in past decades. It is much easier to text, e-mail, or chat on-line, than taking the time to meet face-to-face or even over the phone. It is becoming more prevalent now to use these types of communication in the office setting. There are pros and cons to this and they need to be taken into consideration when you choose to use alternative methods of communication.
Here is an example of a pro for texting we have found for our office; our physician works in other facilities during the work week along with working in the home office. When we need to get a message to him right away we have found that he can look at his phone when a text comes in much easier than if we paged him and they had to stop and call us back.
We can let them know if it is urgent or not, and we have discussed that when we send a message to him this way that he will do a quick response to us so we know that he has received the message and is taking care of the issue.
Texting has worked for this type of situation for us, but we would not use it if the situation was not simple and needed more communication, we would text and ask that the physician call the office as soon as they had a moment so we could give further explanation. E-mailing also works well for communicating information to each other, but it has its limits as well, and the biggest limitation is being able to communicate the emotion of the message and this is a big part of what communication is about.
I do not feel that there is really anything that can compare with face-to-face communication. Researchers have discovered that in actual face-to-face contact the success of communication is broken down into three components, word, tone of voice, and gestures or body language.
Communication is what makes us human and we work with humans so we should want to communicate with them in a meaningful way, which would be face-to-face, this way they can hear our voice, see our body language, feel the emotion in what we are saying, nothing can really take the place of this.
Let me share a short story regarding this; we had purchased a new medical software and there was this nice man who helped us with every problem we encountered, he was just great and over the years he became, a friend, but without a face. About 7 years later we were at a medical conference and were walking by a booth that our software company was at and I heard his voice, it was amazing. I went up and asked if he was (our rep) and he said my name, we were so excited to meet after so many years of e-mail and phone calls.
I can tell you that those couple of days getting to talk to him face-to-face told me more of who he was than what the past 7 years did with e-mails and calls. I got to see him, look in his eyes, hear the tone of his voice along with his facial expressions, see the emotion in his body language as we talked, these are the communication tools that we naturally have that tell each of us so much about who we are communicating with and what is being communicated.
As co-workers in your business you need to take the time to invest in face-to-face communication, it is the clearest form of communication that we have. Good leaders find the time to make the connections with their co-workers and have face-to-face communication about daily office issues and personal interactions that grow relationships, which in turn create fewer turnovers in staff.
It is the element of being human with one another that is meaningful to everyone in the workplace. Tomorrow when you are at work, think about how you can make a human connection with those you work with and talk with them face-to-face even if it is just for a few moments, you will definitely feel better for it and so with those you took the time to talk to.