Why does communication matter more now than it did a few years ago? Or does it? First of all, there are many aspects of and to the world that have changed greatly over the past ten years. In fact, over the past twenty years, the world is vastly different.
But communication is still critical. In fact, it may be more so now that we can communicate nearly instantly. There was a time when we didn’t have the option of instant communication. We do now, you can literally pick up the phone and call people around the world. Sometimes, checking the world clock on your phone first is critical as they may still be asleep but you get the idea.
How you communicate with people shows your ethical composition. I cannot tell you how many times I have had vague conversations with a boss about various issues, only to walk out of the meeting wondering what exactly my boss was trying to say.
Technology is a wonderful tool, it builds and delivers information rapidly. That rapid movement of information provides risk though. That risk is the reliance on rapid communication, without message or meaning. The worst boss I ever had, when we lived in Cincinnati Ohio in fact, would give me extremely cryptic feedback. I asked over and over for the basis of the feedback, but all I got back was more cryptic answers. I was ecstatic the day I moved to Indianapolis because I was no longer working for that person (I actually transitioned to a new manager right before I moved, the new manager was a good person, I just needed to get away from the old manager).
We forget that communication always involves two people. What you say, has an impact. In fact, I think we could come up with some guidelines for feedback that are beneficial to others.
1. If you call with bad news, follow up with the person. It is the right thing to do.
2. if you are sharing information with the person, but will not tell them the source, then don’t tell them the information. Everyone deserves to have the rebuttal!
3. It is not the path you take to the top that matters, it is how you get to the top that matters.
4. The last rule is a lot older. Don’t text a message when you can send an email. Don’t send an email when you can talk on the phone. Don’t talk on the phone when you can actually sit across from the person.
Those simple guidelines allow the impact of technology to be smaller on the other person and allows you to have greater impact as a human being. Use technology as a tool to be a better person!