Is Technology Crippling Our Communication Skills?

Kelsey Jones – Search Engine Journal

Is Technology Crippling Our Communication Skills?

We’ve all done it: pulled out our phone in a moment of waiting in line to get coffee or while your friend is driving you to the movies. It’s a habit many of us do multiple times daily. Deloitte found that Americans check their phones collectively 8 billion times per day; a Gallup poll found most users are checking it at least hourly, if not more.

However, this habit of constantly getting sucked into your digital world could have a detriment effect on your communication skills when it comes to business. If you become uncomfortable talking to colleagues when you don’t have anything specific to talk about, this could influence your potential working relationship and overall productivity down the road.

Psychology Today found that small talk amongst coworkers (sometimes known as “water cooler talk”) could actually increase productivity 10-15%, due to the fact that we are social animals and feeling like we are part of a community can increase our overall happiness and output at work.

Here are some of the ways we are using technology as a communication detriment and why it’s worth it to fight the urge to let it get in the way of building better relationships.

Avoid Using Technology as Filler For Silence

Before smartphones, people often filled silences in waiting rooms or while waiting for a meeting to start with small talk—the weather, a recent news item, what holiday is coming up next. In order to avoid this, many people instead pull out their smartphone, using it as a digital “security blanket” that makes it seems like you have emails to answer or people to text back.

Culturally, if we see someone hurrying down the street, phone next to their ear, we assume they are on their way to an important appointment that is probably much more important than our own agenda. However, we should sacrifice the need to look important to others for actually doing the work to make ourselves happier or more effective in the office.

Small Talk Can Affect Your Overall Well-being

Choosing Virtual Means Over In-Person or Phone Conversations

Using Digital Communication to Build Relationships

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