Face to face

More and more our preferred method of communication is anything but face to face.

It’s easier to say things to a screen. It’s easier to send a text message or an email. It’s easier to post a comment, a picture, or tweet. In fact, we’ve made it so easy, we don’t even have to react with words anymore. We can simply click a “like” button or use an emoji to communicate.

This form of communication is so ubiquitous that we’re forgetting how to talk to each other. People are joining meetings via video from the same office. People are chat messaging coworkers who sit directly across from them. People are talking to people, but while looking at their phones.

Though technology has made it easier for the act of communication to take place, it has abstracted away much of the humanness present in a face to face conversation. And this abstraction interferes with both the communicator’s intent and the receiver’s interpretation.

The result? It’s much easier to misunderstand. It’s much easier to take issue, get defensive, or upset. And it wastes time. A conversation that normally takes hours (or days, or even weeks) to reach a collective understanding might be accomplished in a matter of minutes if it were done face to face.

Conversations that happen in person are more effective. There is more empathy and compassion, which creates the opportunity to build a better relationship and improve trust. Whenever we have a chance to talk to each other in person, we should take it. Let’s talk less to machines and more to each other.