Interpreting body language, eye contact, facial expressions, and tone are arguably innate, hardwired skills. They allow professionals to automatically put a face-to-face conversation into context and create an environment of both speaking and listening. Responsiveness and feedback are keys to successful communications as well. However, when interacting via electronic means, professionals aren’t able to tap into these elements for effective communication. That is not to say that texting and sending information through social media doesn’t have its place in the business world. Technology makes it easier and faster to relay information on-the-fly to anyone in the world..
Some professionals have developed the habit of texting co-workers, clients, and business contacts. They do this, because a text message is simple, fast, and reaches individuals regardless of their location. However, relying on text messages and social media to convey information leads to a loss of communication skills and creates discomfort when speaking with others face-to-face. Live communication requires individuals to be on their toes, to have self-discipline, listening skills, focus, and persuasive abilities.
Another factor that has led to a reliance on text messaging, is the idea that a text message often doesn’t require an immediate response. If professionals communicate with clients during their work hours only and a face-to-face interaction isn’t likely to occur within these hours, a text message allows the sender to transmit the necessary information. The recipient can then reply at their leisure. It is also often used to reach a variety of individuals, such as a large number of office staff.
The journal Online Counseling published an article by Dr. John Suler that posits, some individuals are able to communicate more fluently through writing, which translates to e-mails, text messages, and social media. While most people find text-based relationships distant, unemotional, and rife with misperception, other professionals prefer the solitary, less visually stimulating, impersonal connection. Suler refers to virtual and text communications as “asynchronous,” noting that some individuals like the fact that these conversations tend to be out of real time. It gives them a chance to analyze, rehearse, and compose a reply.
Lastly, text messaging and virtual communications are seemingly cost-effective for businesses. There’s no need to spend the money and time commuting to attend a meeting. Schedules don’t have to be synchronized. Lunch is no longer “on us.” While this can be attractive, face-to-face meetings allow professionals to make an impression on one another, create long lasting, meaningful relationships, build a sense of trust and emotional connection, banish miscommunications, and increase profits. The time and money spent on the occasional face-to-face, or at least video chat, which has been deemed the second most effective way to communicate, will boost a business’s bottom line.