How to Effectively Communicate in a Digital World by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

“We are drowning in information, yet starving for wisdom.”

The digital age has completely changed our lives, especially when it comes to communication. We are more in touch than ever, yet seem to have fewer intimate relationships. It is said that your phone can connect you to someone far away, while at the same time disconnect you from the person sitting next to you.

True leaders must learn to balance technology and other forms of communication in order to truly lead and mentor. Here are some tips for ensuring you are communicating effectively in the digital age.

Text sparingly. Text messaging is great for saying things like “Heading home, be there in 15”, or “At the grocery, need anything?”, but there is no easier way to miscommunicate your intended message than through a text.

Use email for detail. Emails are a great way to communicate facts and details, but should not be used for conveying anything with emotion. Outlining the agenda for the meeting via email is fast and effective. But, beware of trying to explain things or express opinions using this medium.

Pick up the phone to persuade. Any time you need to negotiate something or get someone to make a decision, use your voice. Emails and text messages are easy to ignore, and lack tone and excitement. Using your voice can help to get people on board with your idea, generate enthusiasm and express urgency in a way that written communication cannot.

Meet face to face to solve. There are some communications that really need to be face to face. Even if your staff is far flung and work mostly from home, face to face meetings are crucial periodically. Brainstorming and talking through issues is most effective when done face to face. The time you’ll spend getting everyone together will easily be won back by how much faster you’ll be able to generate ideas and solve problems.

The most effective communicators know how and when to use each of these communications mediums. It can be very tempting to just ” send a quick text”, but before you do, think through the goal of your communication and whether the tool you’re using is the most effective one for meeting that goal.