Are you chained to your desk?
Last week, I wrote about how to use email effectively. This week, I am exploring when electronic communications should and shouldn’t be used.
It caught my attention when my manager complimented my ability to recognize when a phone call was more appropriate than an email message for certain communications. Even though I enjoy picking up the phone and talking to my co-workers, I still have a tendency to want to stay in the office and get work done. Why take time to commute to a meeting place, engage in small talk, eat lunch, and then manage the notes and follow up from your meeting? But that’s the point. All of those activities make for better communications with colleagues. An added benefit is the change in perspective we gain when we relax, get away from a screen and engage one-on-one.
Here are some reasons outlined in an Inc. article that meeting in person can pay dividends. René Shimada Siegel shares these insights in “5 Reasons You Need to Meet in Person.”
• Solidify relationships. Sound business decisions rest on the bond between the people involved. That small talk before lunch or dinner builds rapport and trust, which creates a foundation for strong communication. So if you plan to propose a new software upgrade, it may be a good idea to have lunch with your CFO and learn what makes him or her tick.
• Actions speak louder than words. A person who writes one-word responses to email messages may come off as abrupt and unfriendly. But once you meet face-to-face, you are likely to discover a deeper aspect of his or her personality. In addition, you can’t see the nuances in body language while communicating by email or text message.
• Take cues from the environment. If appropriate, meet with employees in their offices or work areas. You might gain an insight into their state of mind and priorities. For example, if their work area is tidy, you might begin your communication in an orderly and systematic manner. Read whether that’s the employee’s best way to communicate or whether you can loosen up the conversation a bit.
The latest and greatest technological advances are tools, not substitutes for the benefits of human interaction. Used wisely, a combination of savvy technology choices and in-person meetings can help you achieve your goals quickly and effectively.
Entry filed under: Company Culture, Employee Engagement, HR Management, Leadership, Management, Time management. Tags: Company Culture, Email, Human resources, Leadership, Workforce management, workplace communication.