Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Web Secret #324: Better Technology = Better Communication?
I thought wrong. Communication occurred only, when out of desperation, we used our land line to call her at 1am her time - when we were guaranteed she would be home.
Geoffrey Tumlin, the author of the July 2014 Employee Assistance Report (EAR) article "Does better Technology = Better Communication?", would not be surprised. He argues that we have five unrealistic expectations for how our digital devices boost communication.
Here is my abridged version of what he wrote:
We are feeling unsatisfied and largely unfulfilled by our interactions — despite having the most powerful connection and transmission devices in human history in the palms of our hands.
Unrealistic expectation #1: Our new devices have made communication easier. Communication is fundamentally imperfect, and no matter how fancy our devices may become, they’ll never be able to eliminate the misunderstandings, the confusion, and the errors that occur when people talk.
Unrealistic expectation #2: We successfully communicate each time we hit the “Send” button. Our devices have greatly simplified the sending and receiving of messages, but there’s more to communication than that.
Unrealistic expectation #3: Better communication technologies mean better communication. Better communication technology doesn’t lead to better communication, especially when the new tools encourage speed and convenience over thoughtfulness and deliberation, and when they fragment our communication, scatter our attention, and constantly distract us from the issues at hand.
Unrealistic expectation #4: What I want to say is the most important part of communication. Meaningful and effective communication is possible only when we consistently place our conversational goals ahead of our conversational impulses.
Unrealistic expectation #5: Communicating to an audience doesn’t require any special consideration. One of the greatest deceptions of the digital age is that sending a message to dozens of people is just as easy as sending a message to one person. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Geoffrey Tumlin is the author of "Stop Talking, Start Communicating: Counterintuitive Secrets to Success in Business and in Life." He is the founder and CEO of Mouthpeace Consulting LLC, a communication consulting company; president of On-Demand Leadership, a leadership development company; and founder and board chair of Critical Skills Nonprofit, a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to providing communication and leadership skills training to chronically underserved populations. You can learn more about Geoffrey Tumlin at www.tumlin.com, or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.