Good communication between members of a team, company, or school is a vital component to its success. However, how do we define “good” or “effective” communication? Email, and technology in general, has become a revolutionary tool in the way that we communicate. In contrast, it has become a crippling tool that has caused individuals to passively hide behind their computer screens to send emails, resolve conflicts, or even hold meetings. We cowardly turn towards these tools to avoid any amount of emotional discomfort of a face-to-face conversation.
Because our lives have become so fast paced, it may seem to be a time saver to send an email rather than schedule a meeting or to send a quick text rather than stop by an office. However, this medium of conversation yields the risk of misconception, lost emotion, and misinterpretation of meaning. Margie Warell with Forbes Magazine explains, “The lack of consideration combined with misinterpretation can risk permanent damage to your relationships, and all of your efforts to be productive and efficient can unravel, as time spent on damage control quickly overtakes any time saved by belting out a quick and often poorly worded written message.” As leaders in a building, it is important to make sure that messages are clear and concise and the best way to do this is through face-to-face communication with followers.
E-mail may be a revolutionary tool for communication but Forbes describes four different times when you should avoid using e-mail to communicate.
- When you’re mad
- When you are rebuking or criticizing
- If there’s any chance your words could be misunderstood
- When you’re cancelling or apologizing
It happens way too often. We send an email because “we just can’t” deal with stopping by and having long drawn out conversations. However, what if that quick conversation could save a relationship?
Building relationships helps teams and companies grow to their full potential. Having meaningful conversations helps to build these relationships into positive and lasting ones. It is my hope that individuals will challenge themselves to have more meaningful conversations and face-to-face time rather than hiding behind a computer screen to explain themselves. If you receive an email and you feel as if someone sounds upset, stop by their office and talk about it. They may feel as if the conversation is uncomfortable but at least you are showing that you care.
Let us make eye contact, share emotion and thought through face-to-face communication. Let us engage with one another and build positive and lasting relationships that are based on personal and intimate conversations.