If Video Killed the Radio Star ...
Has electronic communication killed the personal touch? Do you understand the question? In other words, when is the last time you picked up the phone to ask someone a question or answer their question? Better yet, have you emailed, texted or IM’d someone whose office is literally next to yours?
I recently witnessed someone emailing a question to a business associate who was in the office next to theirs. I know this because I could hear them talking through the wall! As they were replying to this email! In today’s world where we are so quick to fire off an email, shoot the person a text message or facebook them, would it not be easier to call? Would it not be more personal, or even friendlier?
Now, I’m the first who lives by email. I love it. Because I’m an early bird, I can send a business associate on the West Coast an email even though there is a three-hour variance in our time zones – and know they will receive it when they get to work or turn on their phone when they wake up. If I call, I may upset them at 4 a.m. PST. And I love the fact that I can text my wife when I’m running late on a conference call so she knows what’s going on.
But I have also been affected by an email that was sent in one tone and read in another. And let’s not forget punctuation! For example, “Let’s eat Ron” means one thing. “Let’s eat, Ron” means something entirely different. And it’s just one little comma! And if you have my spelling ability you will appreciate that verbal communication is never misspelled!
Now I haven’t even touched on the type of situation where you know you sent that email/text or replied, but it’s out in “la la land,” and the person you intended to receive the message never did. And now they are trashing you, telling everyone you don’t reply to messages or never touch base. In the meantime, your email/text is in someone’s junk folder or some “cloud” in this so-called cloud computing era.
So I’m sharing all of this because sometimes I think we feel we need to remember communication is king, but we may not be as good as we think we are. George Bernard Shaw once said, “The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” I recently read about a business owner who randomly picks days in which no electronic messages may be sent from his business. In other words, instead of emailing a business associate, they call them. Instead of texting the technician in the shop 30 feet away, walk back to them. We might be amazed at how it improves communication with our co-workers, our business associates and our friends.
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