Posted by Linda Finkle on Tuesday, June 2011 ·
In today’s fast-paced world of business, with the advance of technology and how we use it to communicate, with more businesses being international, people working virtually, and organizations having to do more with less, communication is an ever-increasing challenge for companies. We have entire generations of Xers and Yers who grew up texting, IMing, Tweeting and emailing, and haven’t learned how to have lengthy, face-to-face conversations, let alone how to handle difficult situations and conversations. Good communication skills in the workplace are more important than ever.
Recently I wrote a post titled Using Technology to Avoid Conversations Is Not a Communication Style, which addresses the challenges of technology when it comes to communication. Put all these factors together, and you have a recipe for communication going awry in any number of ways. Emails and texts have a way of being misunderstood. Yet we use these methods as a way to not just share information but communicate our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and ideas. The nuances we might pick up from a voice conversation are missed.
The problem multiplies exponentially because of the speed at which business, and thus our communication, moves. Dictionaries now recognize acronyms such as LOL, OMG, IMHO and more as actual words. Many of us shortcut other words in an effort to save time, and we assume the other person understands. Words mean different things in different cultures and even in different parts of the United States. And different parts of the country have different words for the same thing. I grew up saying soda and purse. My friends grew up saying pop and pocketbook. It can all be so confusing.
We often don’t have the advantage of sitting across the desk from others. We work into the wee hours of the night, a time when we may not be at our best, to keep up with the workload. Besides all this, most of us are multi-tasking a good portion of the time. All of this combined, and more is why I believe that good communication skills in the workplace are more critical than ever.
We have more challenges than ever facing us in the business, with more opportunities than ever for communication to be muddled. Thus, IMHO, more than ever we must pay attention to what we say, how we are saying it, the message others hear, and communication in general.