Face-to-face interaction – a lost art?

I’ve been thinking about communication a lot lately, particularly how we communicate with one another in today’s technological advanced society. So it struck a chord today in Dr. Raffle’s Qualitative Research Methods when communication was brought up in class discussion. While talking about a supplemental book we are reading for class and how dating has changed across generations, how we communicate was brought up as part of this discussion.

Our generation often lacks face-to-face communication skills. Even I’ve been guilty of emailing my supervisor from down the hall when I’m at work. What happened to making a phone call instead of sending an email? Or meeting someone for coffee to go over work or to catch up instead of Skype or video conferencing (and even while you’re in the same area!)? When you are able to talk with people face-to-face, it’s much easier to build relationships and establish a rapport with them.

For those of us looking for jobs or internships, or just looking to network with industry professionals, it pays to meet in person. Face-to-face interaction connects to people in ways that phone calls, emails, texts and social media cannot. (Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not bashing social media – after all it’s what I’d like to use as a foundation for my career.)

Growing up, my mother engrained into me that you should always send a hand written thank-you note whether it be after an interview, networking event, holiday, birthday or whatever, you should always show appreciation. It may sound monotonous but trust me the extra time goes a long way and it definitely gets noticed.

Another opportunity for more personal communication that often gets swept under the rug is the phone call. How many times have you text messaged, Tweeted or written on a good friend or family member’s Facebook wall for their birthday or some other event instead of picking up the phone and calling? Trust me when I tell you that a phone call goes a long way and means a lot to people (especially family!).

My last piece of advice goes out to social networking. Stop having conversations via your social networks that should really be done via more personal forms of communication like a text message or phone call. Not only is it annoying to those who follow you, but it also shows employers that you don’t know how to successfully manage social media sites.

I challenge you this week to assess how you communicate with those close to you and your professional networks, and to improve how you communicate with those around you.

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