Three Career Enhancing Benefits of Face-to-Face Communication
I’ve been IM’ing a lot at work lately. It makes me feel so techie–and younger than I really am. And in many ways, it really is quite efficient. I need to ask the tech guy at the other end of the office a two second question? I don’t have to waste five minutes walking there and back to get an answer. And I don’t have to risk a chatty question in between that would inevitably take place either at his desk or along the way.
But then again, I may just miss out on a chatty question along the way or in between. I might miss a key piece of information that my limited technical capabilities didn’t allow me to think of. And perhaps even more importantly, I may miss out on the chance to interact with co-workers, building relationships that may further my career down the line.
What’s an aspiring Career Girl to do? “Waste” an extra five minutes that a face-to-face meet up would require or stick with the two-second instant message?
Consider these three career-enhancing benefits of face-to-face communication next time you are about to fire off an inter-office IM.
- You may not be getting the full story with an instant message. If you are asking a question about a topic you are not well versed in, you may unknowingly be asking only part of the question. If you go talk to your colleague face-to-face, you are opening up the floor to a more in-depth back and forth conversation that will ensure you get a more complete answer.
- Tone can get misread in electronic conversation. Have you ever sent an email or instant message with no negative intent, only to have it misread, unintentionally angering a colleague or client? I know it has happened to me. Or, conversely, you misread an email and think someone is being really nasty when perhaps that wasn’t her intent at all? Electronic communication can open the floor to misrepresented tone and can cause conflicts that never needed to happen in the first place. It is much easier to convey the appropriate tone and curry favor with colleagues in a face-to-face chat. And an added perk? You might get an entertaining story about last Friday night’s escapades, or impress your boss with your keen insight and questioning ability.
- Face-to-face meetings foster relationships. Sure, electronic conversation is efficient. But can it foster relationships? It can, but typically only when you have a standing relationship with an individual. Think about all those high school “friends” you’ve friended on Facebook.
It’s great to catch up with those friends you really enjoyed hanging with while you were in school together, and you can almost pick up right where you left off as you comment on photos of their new house or their cute kid or boyfriend. But those periphery “friends”, whom you didn’t really know? They can be just an annoyance to your feed.
It’s the same with colleagues you work with now. Take the time to foster relationships now, and you’ll have a lasting career-benefitting relationship down the road.
So next time you are considering firing off an IM or email to a colleague, consider the career-enhancing benefits of getting up and walking over to their desk. And another added perk? You can fit in some extra exercise throughout the day.