As the saying goes: “technology is a useful servant, but a dangerous master”. In our current business climate, it would appear that technology has achieved mastery over many of the ways in which we communicate. It can even sometimes be considered strange, or out-of-touch to attempt to speak to someone in person without first sending an email or text message to set up the meeting.
While new communication tools powered by the latest technology are extremely beneficial in a number of ways, businesses need to be careful that they don’t rely on them so much that they lose the essence of human communication altogether.
While a variety of forms of communication remain in use throughout companies today, the main concern is efficiency. Therefore, quick, written, new communication tools such as email and chat tend to be the preferred method by many busy individuals. Phone calls and in-person meetings seem to be going by the wayside and are more and more thought of as seldom-used annoyances that are ways of the past.
On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal at all. However, it’s important to remember that there are times when we need to communicate in person or over the phone, and if we forget how to do it, it could cost our companies money, good will, and time.
Picture the quintessential young professional today: very often, they use every social media app that exists, ignore calls from unknown numbers, and send texts or emails to communicate whenever possible. They get very little verbal, or non-verbal feedback from those with whom they communicate. Therefore, when they are finally in a situation where they have to meet in person, they may have difficulty picking up on social cues, changes in tone, and other essential elements of the spoken word. If the client, colleague, or superior they are meeting with doesn’t appreciate this young professional’s communication style, they may not trust them to uphold the company’s standards.
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There’s no doubt that the new communication tools and technology in general is the way of the future. It would be incredibly short-sighted to completely discount the benefits of email and instant messaging. In fact, it would almost certainly hinder businesses to not utilize these new communication tools.
However, a balance needs to be struck between making use of technology advancements and maintaining social and communication skills. Clients do not want to work with robots and machines, they want real people who they can trust to competently and effectively handle their business.
Email, chat, instant messaging and all other new communication tools need to be a part of businesses. They are essential components of the new business model. But if we no longer know how to convey emotion, look someone in the eye, or speak over the phone, businesses will suffer.
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While each mode of communication has its place, digital is faster while in person is more nuanced, without proper context, communications can easily become mis-communications. Context is easier to establish when meeting in person because meetings have agendas and participants focused on the topic at hand. Digital communications however can easily get messy without proper tools.
When communicating digitally it is natural to use many forms such as chat, email, shared cloud documents, phone calls and these days even social media. Unfortunately, with so many means of communications it is very easy to create communication silos. Many conversations are related. They may start with an email, continue with a chat and end up with a to do. With communication silos it is very easy to lose context of what is being discussed.
A SaaS based tool like Clariti can be of immense help since it supports all commonly used communication forms in one app. There is no time wasted switching apps. Besides, Clariti automatically connects all related items in TopicFolders making it very easy to see the context. TopicFolders increase productivity as they eliminate the need to search for information. Clariti is a web-based freemium software. You can start for free and upgrade to premium features only if needed.