Workplace Communication through Technology


Although we all know technology provides many benefits, we tend to believe it an excessive amount of for important interpersonal communication. it is a paradox. Technology helps us get in-tuned –and it prevents us from being in touch. It helps us save time–and makes us waste time. It helps us correspond–and it can prevent us from being understood.

As a consultant, I regularly see people struggling to be understood. Interpersonal conflicts are rampant, and listening seems to be a lost art. As people over-depend on technology, these communication challenges become harder . It’s one thing to believe email to stay in touch with people in another country, but it’s quite different thing to rely email to stay in touch together with your coworker sitting within the cubicle next to you.

We often hear people say they spend over two hours each day reading and responding to email messages. and that is just the typical email user; some people receive as many as 100-150 email messages each day . And, most of them require further clarification so still more email is shipped and received. Surely a number of those messages could are communicated face to face , thus minimizing the probability of communication breakdown.

Since over ninety percent of the impact of a message is non-verbal (eye-contact, gestures, posture, voice, etc.), that leaves only a ten percent probability you’ll be truly understood once you use email. That’s not enough.

Since people have a tough time expressing themselves, they’ll tend to control , lie, or shut one’s mouth instead of communicate directly. It’s easier to lie while hiding behind a display screen . It’s easier to confront a computer than an individual when handling conflict. It’s easier to reject someone using email instead of looking them within the eye.

It often feels as if the more connected we get the more disconnected we become.

My friend Melissa told me she had a drag at work. Her coworker (who was also her friend) had been avoiding a crucial task that needed to be done before Melissa could complete the project they were doing. She asked the coworker several times to “please get the work done,” but when nothing changed, Melissa got frustrated and visited her supervisor for help. She explained her situation and she or he expected he would confront the matter employee. Instead, his only advice was, “Put it in an email.”

John, a programmer who was employed for five years by an outsized wireless communication company, received a shocking email one Friday evening just before he was leaving work. “Dear John; thanks to the recent merger, we are downsizing our software engineering department and your services will not be necessary…outplacement services are going to be available.”

These stories illustrate what might be the start of a replacement management craze — MBE (Management By Email), the over-reliance on email when other channels (methods) would be more appropriate. Complex and highly personal information, as illustrated above, isn’t well-suited for email. There’s an excessive amount of room for error, hurt feelings, guess-work and misunderstanding.

Choosing the simplest Channel

Email may be a wonderful channel for impersonal and straightforward information. It works well for organizing large groups of individuals to return together for a standard cause. for instance Jody Williams won the l997 Nobel Peace prize for her contribution to the international ban ashore mines. She achieved that ban not only without much government help, but within the face of opposition from all the main powers. And what did she say was her secret weapon for organizing 1,000 different human rights and limitation groups on six continents? “Email.” (Lexus & fruit tree , p. 14) Howard Dean has mobilized millions to donate money to his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President in 2004 by using email. During the march to war within the spring of 2003, many people were contacted via email to form their feelings known to legislators and therefore the like.

Email is additionally great for scheduling meetings or planning social events. i used to be preparing to facilitate an executive retreat and needed to urge the agenda and a quick homework assignment to participants before time. Additionally, I needed to urge feedback so I could adequately prepare and address their issues. I chose email because the best channel. It allowed me to quickly send and receive simple, impersonal information during a way that streamlined the method therefore the retreat might be successful. I even have also used email as how to collect input when designing curriculum for corporate training programs.

For following-up, email is fabulous. I spoke at a convention recently and offered to email a bibliography to interested participants. Over 150 people dropped off their cards. within the “old days,” i might have had to deal with and stamp 150 envelopes then stuff them with the three-page, photocopied bibliography. Now, it took just a couple of minutes to input the e-mail addresses into a card enter my address book, attach the document and hit send. This was a quick , easy, and cost-effective thanks to follow-up with simple, impersonal information. Email was the simplest channel for this task.

On the flip side, I even have heard numerous stories where email was the channel of choice and misunderstandings were the norm.

Think Before you select Channels
If the message you’re sending in anything but simple and impersonal, then email isn’t the simplest channel to use. A face-to-face interaction or a conversation would be far better it is time we began to revisit in-tuned during this high tech world.

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