Ahh…The first days of fall! Crisp nights, the fresh dew in the mornings and the changing palate of colour on the landscape. The kids are back in school and the stories of summer vacations are fading in the morning coffee lineups.
There is a rebirth in our relationships with everyone because of what has transpired over the past few months and our interactions and reactions to those events. Our ability to understand and communicate with others is crucial, not only from the point of view of social interaction, but in our work earning a living and the support we give our community.
Never has communication been so complex for us. At one time written communication was in the form of letters or, in the workplace, memos. There was no expectation of an instant reply. Verbal communication was by telephone or face-to-face.
Today we have Facebook, E-mail, Twitter, Instagram, and Texting, as well as many others for written communication. The one thing they all have in common is the expectation of an instant reply. The lines are getting blurred between social and work in the use of these tools. Business must be clear in their appropriate use to ensure a proper ‘communication trail’ for critical information. Interesting that now, to catch someone’s attention, many businesses and organizations are using regular mail as it is not as common and not as easy to ignore!
Verbal communication today is done through the use of regular and cellular telephones, and face-to-face can be through applications such as Skype, Facetime, or in person.
What will it look like tomorrow? There are many fears that technology will cause us to be less social because there is less face-to-face interaction and there will be a loss of language abilities due to the short-form communication of texting.
While I have difficulty keeping up with it all, I believe we are communicating more due to the technology. We are communicating outside of our close knit community and technology has changed the way we view the world. The contrast between the ability to rescue and survey damage in the Haitian earthquake of 2010 and the Japan earthquake of 2011 shown the value of technology. Because of the extensive use of cell phones in Japan it was easier to map the extent of the damage and respond. The use of cell phones in Haiti was not as prevalent making it difficult to assess the damage and prioritize the assistance.
Language has always evolved and while it can be viewed as a good or bad thing, the fact remains it always will evolve. The challenge as I see it is for business as it appears that less emphasis is being placed on written language in our school systems which will impact business communication in the future.
The biggest communication challenge I face, having been around for a while, is keeping up, but what the heck, it keeps me young!
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