Our great grandchildren’s world may be one where human contact is shunned – an experience to be suffered through only when no other method of interaction will work. Why would I say that?
During the past half century, the shift from dealing with others face to face towards using other methods has escalated rapidly. Technology advances – from the use of the telephone to ham radios to fax machines to email to the internet and cell phones – allowed alternate methods to communicate and interact. Technology has allowed greater ease of communication between individuals and groups, whether it is between 2 people in one room or between the earth and Mars.
There is no question that technology is convenient, helpful and here to stay. Why would we bother to walk over to talk to someone across the room, when we can text them and get the message just right before sending it?
Here are 7 reasons you should have personal contact.
People bond when they deal face to face.
Face to face interactions are more real time – you can’t edit or delete. People gather more information face to face using all senses.
They develop empathy for others and better understandings of your situation. Getting to know your banker or mortgage broker may help you get a lower rate. The banker or mortgage broker will develop more empathy for your situation.
You need the warmth of personal human interaction.
Jeanna Bryner, in a Live Science article, from 2010, Today’s College Students Lack Empathy reports that college students scored 40% lower on measurements of empathy than their elders did in the past. The article blamed the decrease on technology such as video games and social media.
Dr. Lewis Thomas theorizes, according to Kathy Sierra on her site Headrush that the human brain needs to have that face to face personal communication. We are born with innate ability, evolved over eons of time, to ‘read’ human interaction – facial expression, smells, body language, tone of voice and etc. If we are deprived of that interaction, we suffer distress – such as a baby does when it’s mother presents a totally neutral face – giving the baby no responsive feedback.
You can be ‘off record.
The internet never forgets, Skype calls are automatically recorded, once an email is out, it is out. Being face to face with someone allows you to be off record. Knowing that you aren’t being recorded can facilitate honest and straightforward communication that may not be possible using technology.
You learn more about the other guy when face to face.
You can see how they present themselves and soak in the environment in which they live and work. It can tell you more about them than any number of textings. You use all of your senses. You touch them with a handshake and know if their hands are warm or cold. You look them straight in the eye and make a judgment on their honesty and trustworthiness. You smell them and know about their personal hygiene and choices in cosmetics and perfumes. You hear their voice and breathing and see their whole body.
Technology can get in the way.
Face to face communication is easy. There is no equipment that can fail, there is no electronic buzz. You don’t have to type or have a speaker or microphone or computer. Having to jack with the technology in order to have a conversation can get in the way of communicating.
Face to face accomplishes more.
It’s easy to ignore technological interactions, not so easy to ignore someone physically in your presence.
Analysis by Principal employees show that people who met one on one with their financial adviser to walk through their plan saved an extra $242,000 for their retirement over time.
The New York Times posed the question to students “When did you last have a great conversation?” and got over 25 responses, most indicating that while they used technology heavily most thought they were still having great conversations and liked having them.
Your boss and co-workers get a better sense of who you are and what you can do when you work in the same physical location. In support of that, Time article author Dan Schwabel says:
“When people see you in the flesh, they know you’re working and get a better sense of who you are, your emotional intelligence, and your leadership ability.”
You need the practice!
Dan Schwabel in a Time article Why Face-to-Face Networking Still Trumps Social Networking said:
“a psychiatrist at UCLA,indicates that spending more time on technology-related tasks, and less time exposed to other people, has somewhat expected results: Over time, one’s face-to-face communication skills can become weaker and weaker.”
In the New York Times article, The Flight from Conversation, the author says:
“A 16-year-old boy who relies on texting for almost everything says almost wistfully, “Someday, someday, but certainly not now, I’d like to learn how to have a conversation.” “
Dan Schwabel (in that Time article above) claims that if you don’t practice face to face skills,
“It will be harder to hold a conversation and appear confident in social situations with colleagues and clients, and your awkwardness will hurt your chances of advancing in the workplace.”
Don’t be rude!
When you are in conversation with someone, be IN the conversation, not in your cell phone or other device. Why? Because if you don’t give the other person full attention, you are essentially saying “You aren’t important to me. I don’t care about what you are saying.”
Don’t text that person standing across the room, walk over and talk to her – face to face!
How do you picture your great-grandchild’s future communication mode? Do you think face to face meetings and conversations will be a thing of the past?