Is This the End of Face to Face Communication?

Wednesday 30 April, 2014


Emails, text messaging, phone calls, Skype, FaceBook and instant messaging are all new methods for communication which avoid speaking face-to-face. Whilst these methods are handy for the odd "Let's meet up for a coffee" or "Could you please email me a list of changes" requests, some conversations need to be held in person.


How much time do we spend emailing business client's or customers back and forth? How annoyed do we feel when we are asked to describe a tricky situation? Don't we all feel frustrated or even embarrassed when someone mis-reads an email or a text and we end up spending additional time explaining what we really meant? Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if it was more than 6 months before I actually met someone who I had been emailing all year!


Do you ever get sick of emailing? Would you love to chat more over a coffee? What's your workplace like in regards to communication? If you are making a personal appeal, approaching a touchy issue or trying to obtain information or describe something about a complex topic, face-to-face communication should be the only way to communicate.


Research reported in the 2006 'Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication' found that businesses who worked face-to-face had improved teamwork and performance than when they used only audio communication. The same businesses also made fewer errors. A shared work space is one method which can eliminate practices such as sending an email even when your office or cubicle is only a few steps away from another person.


Body language is so important and one of the major ways a person understands what another individual is communicating. As Beth Greenwood, Demand Media says "You can assess the other person's tone of voice in relation to posture, eye contact and muscle tension. When you make a comment and the person you're speaking to hesitates before answering, you receive a completely different message than if you are reading an email response to the same comment. If you are a manager, a face-to-face conversation gives you the opportunity to evaluate such things as appropriate dress, mood or mannerisms that may hinder an employee's performance or customer service."


So stop emailing, stop texting and stop dialing those conference call numbers. Build stronger relationships with your colleges, business partners and customers and talk to them personally.

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