Instead of walking next door to your boss' office, you e-nag him about leading next week's meeting. You text-cancel happy hour with your office bestie so you don't have to hear her disappointment. Your idea of a status report with the team lead is a voice-mail message. In this reality of convenient, technology-based interactions, the personal experience in communication can get lost in translation. Face-to-face communication can have a positive impact on your success in the workplace.
Art of Conversation
Meeting in person isn't just about listening. Face-time allows you to soak up the fullest sensory experience of a conversation. The details in the body language, facial expressions, eye contact and hand gestures paint a picture of the information you receive for a more significant connection (and no, emoticons don't count).
An unintended tone or misinterpreted message in an email can give cause for your boss or coworkers to question your aim or misjudge your level of commitment. Nothing beats a face-to-face sit-down to minimize the chance of a mixed message. Remember, emails and texts can be saved and forwarded to the masses, wrecking your rep. So take your conversations with supervisors and peers offline whenever possible.
A hectic schedule can mean your boss isn't checking email every time he hears the "you've got mail" chime. If you have an important update or urgent need, fast-forward the waiting game and drop by his office for immediate feedback. As efficient as technology is, human interaction is still required, and if it's not instant, the delayed response could be too late.
Eyestrain from looking at the screen all day? Take a break and stop by a coworker’s office. It's not only a chance to discuss work face-to-face, but also an opportunity to socialize and strengthen interpersonal relationships. Talk about your yoga class, her dog, the new sushi bar. Nothing beats a real-time status update.
Of course, technology-based communication does have its benefits. When it's a low-priority situation, a task that's not time-sensitive or if no consensus or buy-in is needed, it can be ideal to send a quick email update or leave a voice message.
- Bloomberg Businessweek: Virtual Meetings Will Erase Face-to-Face
- CIO: The Importance of Face-to-Face Communication at Work
- Time: Why E-mail May Be Hurting Off-Line Relationships
- Pew Research Center Publications: Social Isolation and New Technology
- Memphis Business Journal: Face-to-face Communication Can Help You Accomplish Business Objectives
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