Why you need Effective Communication in the Digital Age
Why you need Effective Communication in the Digital Age
Brought to you by Rosy King @ Corporate Training Options
Is Face-to-Face Communication Dead in The Digital Age?
Of course it’s not. However, they way we communicate has changed forever over recent months and I think what we can all agree on two things.
- That digital technology has changed the way we interact, communicate and work together
- And effective communication skills, be it face-to-face or digitally, are still immensely important. So much can be lost or misinterpreted in poor communication, causing delays, lost production, resentfulness and frustration.
Technology can be a tool of connectedness
These days we can all connect, chat and collaborate with each other irrespective of where we are in the world. Teams, supervisors and leaders can communicate one-on-one if they need to, or address their entire workforce, quickly, easily and remotely.
Yet, it’s a challenge to strike a balance. We always have to remember that technology can’t fully replace human connections. It can elevate the business experience to another level, but can equally be the culprit behind a company’s doom.
In the age of artificial intelligence and virtual reality, it’s vital to determine which business functions should be digitised and which should not.
So, is face-to-face communication still a necessary skill now that digital communication is well and truly with us?
We’ve all had to learn very quickly to interact remotely, via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype or other types of online digital meetings. Now, online communication is something we all have to do.
However, we also have to strive to truly listen to our customers and employees, to discover how best to serve them. Even if you deal with thousands of customers, you’ll serve them better if you make listening part of your personal and company DNA.
While digital technology allows us to communicate with team members remotely, so we can collaborate and produce projects effectively, it is premature to think that effective face-to-face communication in the workforce is no longer required.
Because whether you are communicating with someone digitally via video, or face-to-face in the workplace, effective communication skills are paramount for your team, clients and organisation to prosper.
The Definition of Communication
The best definition of communication I’ve read is – “Communication is the process of passing information and understanding, from one person to another. In simple words, it’s the process of transmitting and sharing ideas, opinions, facts and values from one person to another, or from one organisation to another.”
So, while it is easy to jump on the digital bandwagon to communicate with your team members and clients, there are a few key points to consider before you do.
The benefits of effective face-to-face communication
Human beings are social creatures. We need connection and to feel part of something.
Face-to-face communication stimulates staff engagement, builds company culture and shapes effective outcomes. It also creates a sense of community, belonging and trust, where people are working towards a common goal. This is crucial for team morale and for an organisation’s growth and success.
Consider a team member who works from home and communicates by email only. At times he may feel isolated, undervalued and disconnected from his purpose, his team and his employer.
And because he feels undervalued and disconnected, his inability to communicate effectively may be costing your organisation leads and sales, and affecting his other team member’s attitudes as well.
Connecting with Customers
Consider our communication with our customers. Effective communication is vitally important, as it allows us to empathise with them, providing a better understanding of what they need and how they feel. Without this understanding, our solutions might be meaningless. Effective communication leads to empathy and understanding, which needs to be at the heart of proposing customer solutions.
In the words of Steve Jobs:
“I have always realized that you have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.
So, we started with: what incredible benefits can we give to the customer? Where can we take the customer?”
Reading unspoken non-verbals
Learning how to understand and interpret unspoken non-verbals in face-to-face communication, or via online meetings, is a real skill.
Being able to read a person’s body language and tone, being aware of their stance, appearance and the spatial arrangements in face-to-face communication, is key to effective communication in the workplace, and in all your relationships. It’s an important part of ensuring positive outcomes.
Fostering engagement and participation
By learning practical communication skills, you and your team members will have a collaborative team and inspiring culture that everyone will enjoy being a part of.
Once team members learn how to communicate effectively, they’ll have more confidence. They’ll be comfortable putting forward ideas and contributing, resulting in a higher level of employee engagement and satisfaction. Plus, a collaborative company culture means staff are happier and they stay longer, saving organisations both time and money.
Ever received a text message or email you thought was impolite or rude, that you had to read a few times to understand? I think we all have.
In most cases, that email or text wasn’t meant to be rude at all.
It’s just that emails and text messages lack tone, body language, facial expressions and a personality.
Whether you’re communicating face-to-face or via online meetings, effective communication is about cohesive discussion and reducing the risk of misinterpretation.
Human beings are sensitive, funny creatures.
We all read and understand things differently, which can be a disaster, and upsetting for those you’re communicating with, if you can’t communicate effectively.
Some may think you’re rude and others may not understand you and therefore may also not ask questions, which can lead to delays on projects and many other problems in your workplace.
Of course, misinterpretations can be solved by going to see the person who doesn’t understand your email, if that’s possible, or by picking up the phone and calling them.
Don’t underestimate the power and connection of speaking with people face-to-face. It can go a long way to building relationships and communicating clearly and concisely.
Dealing with delicate issues using effective communication
They move from delivering the bad news in person, to holding the termination meetings remotely, via video conference calls. It’s an interesting exercise in effective communication, and demonstrates that in some situations, face to face communications is much more effective and empathetic.
In highly emotional situations, online communications can be too impersonal. While I don’t know if it’s the way of the future, you have to remember that you’re dealing with people’s emotions, lives, incomes, beliefs and values. And that can be tricky.
This is one of the crucial benefits of face-to-face communication
Whether it’s a team issue or you’re addressing a delicate subject with a specific team member, dealing with sensitive issues is all part of the process.
And based on our years of experience in training people and company teams in effective communication, it’s always beneficial to hold these delicate discussions in person if and wherever possible.
What if they work remotely?
If you need to deal with delicate situations with a team member who works remotely, the basic principles and outcomes still apply.
These include giving the person or people you are going to be speaking with
- The problem that needs addressing
- An idea about the purpose of your meeting
- Suggested outcomes you’d like to achieve together
This gives them a heads up, and they and you can start thinking about outcomes, so you’re all working together to resolve the issue proactively, without attack or blame.
Effective communication, face-to-face or via digital means, has many components.
- listening and delivering information accurately
- being attentive
- and providing understanding
You need to be:
- and take responsibility
Any communication, good or bad, face-to-face or digitally, must be:
- clear and concise
- built on mutual respect and trust
Why you should invest in your people, to teach them effective communication skills, both online and in the workplace.
With professional training in Effective Communication, your team will develop the skills they need to communicate effectively, both face-to-face and via digital tools.
They’ll be more confident in their interactions with fellow team members, clients, suppliers and others.
Effective communications training teaches you and your team to be professional and diligent in all your communications. It provides you with practical, useful tools to enable precise and effective communication in all situations.
Want to know more about our Effective Communication courses for you or your team?
The Effective Communication training course from Corporate Training Options provides learning outcomes which include:
- Learning to recognise the impact of face-to-face communication and understanding the advantages of communicating this way
- Understanding effective communication also consists of unspoken non-verbals
- Becoming aware of your stance, your appearance, your voice and the spatial arrangements in a face-to-face encounter
- Learning to choose your words carefully, to enhance your listening ability
- This course also helps you to adapt your face-to-face strengths to online communications and media, via online meetings
Ready to learn more about Effective Communication?
If you’re ready to upgrade your skills to communicate more effectively, or you wish to tackle other new challenges, contact CTO today for friendly, professional advice.
We’ll discuss your specific needs and tailor a training course to suit your requirements.