Commentary

August 15, 2014

Changing your communication default settings

2nd Lt. JOSH GOERSS
61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit

In today’s high tech world, it’s easy to become entrenched in the communication tools that are designed to make our lives simpler and more organized. Ironically, the technology that was created to increase our efficiency has a tendency to detract from our communication within an organization. When we unconsciously set our default communication settings to rely mostly on email for communication, we opt out of the tremendous benefits of face-to-face interaction.

Just think of the time it takes you to write an email, to include all of the time you spent thinking of what you were going to say or ask, and proofreading before you send it out. In many cases it could actually be quicker to walk down the hall to discuss whatever issues you have and be able to tackle a problem or concern much quicker. Yes, there are times where the person you wanted to talk to is unavailable and email is the only way you can pass on the information or pose your question or concern. The point here is that face-to-face interaction has the potential to build rapport, get instant feedback on your message through verbal and nonverbal actions, and help ensure clarity.

Also, when it comes to face-to-face interactions, be sure to give that person your full attention if you happen to be at your desk or workstation. When you don’t give someone your full attention, you are sending a message that you are not 100 percent focused on the conversation and by default, it is not important to you. You may have all the good intentions in the world, but this will likely cause you to lose rapport and negatively impact future conversations.

Besides making sure critical information is passed on, the major long-term goal is to develop interpersonal relationships, which will hopefully lead to increasing the critical element of trust. Give it a shot! Make a valiant effort to increase your own personal interaction. When you do, consider the following points:

  • Concentrate on creating more dialogue
  • Use email sparingly – Communicate via walking down the hall, or if the distance is too great, use the telephone. It’s still much better than an impersonal, one-sided communication tool
  • You won’t miss out on nonverbal cues
  • Chances are pretty good that you may get more information from a face-to-face discussion
  • Clarity of the message is the key to success. Ask for feedback to make sure the message is understood, otherwise known as “read-back”
  • Remember, listening builds trust (listening not just hearing)
  • Communication is the glue that holds an organization together and by increasing your ability to promote communication, you will inevitably make things easier for everyone.



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