“What do you think?’
It was a routine e-mail from a colleague asking me about a potential project we were considering.
But this e-mail came to illustrate an all-too-common problem with the myriad ways we can now communicate with each other.
After reviewing the project I had an answer, and so I hit the “reply” button, and typed a response.
Then, without hesitation, I hit the “send” button.
Now why was this a problem??
My colleague was in the office right next door.
This is a perfect example of what I call the “shallowness” of modern-day communication. The technology gives us an easy “out” that doesn’t require the use of any other human senses, or any extraordinary effort.
I should have been able to walk 20 feet to my friend’s office and simply have a conversation. Or, at the very least, pick up the phone.
But I didn’t, and as much as I would like to tell you that was the only time this has happened, alas, I cannot.
I will say this, however – in my desire to stay out of the shallow end of the communications pool, I have committed to work a lot harder to make more of an effort to engage the old fashioned way.
Because I know that there’s ultimately much greater value to be had in a face-to-face discussion. SO much can be lost in translation on texts and e-mails.
Exchanging information that way, while so convenient, carries with it a risk of depersonalization, because inflection and nuance is virtually impossible to detect.
Yes, sometimes it is the “right” choice – in a shrinking world (with shrinking budgets) where we are separated by too many miles and not enough bundled long distance minutes. However, when we can be more direct, and more personal, we MUST do it. We have to stay in the deep end.
We need to “think before we send“.
I realize it’s harder to communicate in 3 dimensions. It takes more time. You have to listen. You have to think. You have to be conscious of your tone and manner. And you can’t multitask.
In comparison, it’s just so easy to type and send.
And lose out on something better, and much more meaningful.
For the last thing I want to be as a communicator is a “mile wide and an inch deep”. There’s more to me than an e-mail address (or two, or three), an avatar, and 140 characters – and I know there’s more to YOU too.
So I hope by sharing my “shallow” behavior we can all learn a great lesson, and not let the ease of our digital communications steal the best we have to offer- our own human touch.