My friend in Germany and I were able to talk on the phone again today after several months of her phone being broken. We had tried Skype®, WhatsApp® and FaceTime® with little luck due to bad connections and unreliable Internet. It was a joy to hear her voice again and to enjoy a long conversation. I could tell by her voice that she was getting strong again after an illness. She was able to hear the happiness in my voice when I described my new home. Talking in person was much more animated, personal and fulfilling than email.
Communication at work suffers because of reliance on electronic media. Even in workspaces where people work in close proximity to each other, there is a tendency to use technology rather than getting up and walking over for a face-to-face conversation. Emotions cannot be relayed electronically without the use of emojis. Emotional intent is more likely to be misinterpreted in electronic messages than in person.
It is no surprise that “communication” is one of the most frequently cited reasons for low employee satisfaction and for managers’ failure to succeed.
I challenge you to pretend that your phone and email are broken for one week. Engage your colleagues or customers in person to discuss the business of the day for that week. Document your experiences and let me know if it made a difference to your relationships and results at work.