From what I hear, it’s supposed to make my life better.
I hear it’s supposed to make me more efficient with my time, more productive, more educated and more connected to the people around me.
I don’t know about you, but it seems like, more often than not, technology isn’t doing those things for me these days.
Do you feel the same way?
Current research is showing that communication is the foundation of healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are in turn the foundation of a fulfilled and meaningful life.
Research also shows that when people are fulfilled and have meaning in their life, they are more productive, more efficient and have a more positive impact on the people around them.
What if it turns out that we are using technology to do everything except the ONE thing that would actually make our lives and businesses better? – Communicate.
“But John,” you say, “I already use my technology to communicate. I chat with my co-workers on Slack or Teams, I text my friends, I email my customers and vendors, I connect with so many people on social media…”
Okay, I can see where you’re coming from. Here’s the thing. There is a distinct and significant difference between communicating and interacting.
Texts, emails, chats, likes, comments – these are interactions. These are not communications. To truly communicate there must be a part of the person present. Text and social media based communication are lacking the humanity of real interpersonal communication.
Real interpersonal communication needs to be between two persons. There are things that occur in human communication related to the tone of your voice, the looks on your face, your body language, your eye contact, etc… that are essential to deep and meaningful communication. We all know this, and yet we pretend that we can say just as much with a one-sentence email as we can say over a phone call or a face-to-face conversation.
So what can we do about it?
Well, for starters, we can be intentional.
Next time you’re going to chat your employee or co-worker and ask a question, call them instead. Next time you’ve got a conference call scheduled, make it a virtual meeting and use your web-cam. Next time you send out a proposal to a new client, give them a call and go over it on the phone.
Technology is incredible. It is helping us do things we would have never thought possible even just a few years ago. Unfortunately, in some ways, it is causing us to lose things that make us human and make our lives meaningful. Deep, human communication is one of those things.
Next time you make contact with another person, ask yourself, “am I communicating? Or am I just interacting?”
The more we use technology to communicate, instead of just interacting, the more we may find ourselves actually seeing those benefits technology is promising us.