on August 30, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on Can we talk? No, really, can we talk?

Can we talk? No, really, can we talk?

I am sure that this has never happened to you, but I know it has happened to me and at least a few other people that I know. What I am referring to is when an email or a text is misread, misinterpreted, or where tonality was added to the message where no tonality was intended.

We all know what happens when these types of digital exchanges occur. People read something into the message and their feelings get hurt or they become angered and immediately the volley of texts and emails becomes terse and an unintentional consequence is the result. In some cases these communication exchanges have been so severe that they have strained or even ended friendships and have driven wedges between family members.

Recently I found myself entangled in such a miscommunication web of frustration and turmoil. And with the very best of intent and frequent requests for a one-on-one call, the person who I was exchanging emails with just wanted to continue the battle of wits, words and wisdom via emails. The person I found myself in an unintended battle with is one of the nicest and sweetest people I have worked with for the past six years. So I went back and reread my initial email and all subsequent messages to see where she might have misunderstood my meaning or where something was lost in translation. Finding nothing in the trail of emails that I felt could have been misconstrued, I asked once again for a call. What I received was one more shot across the bow. My request, “Can we talk?” apparently fell on a deaf keyboard.

So I did the only thing I could, I called her. And we spoke. The outcome was far different and we were able to clear the air, accomplish the business task at hand, and preserve our friendship and working relationship.

But how often is this happening? Too often. When I find myself in conversations with people around my age we frequently joke about what we did before mobile phones, devices and email. We went and visited our family and friends and we talked. Or we called them on the phone and shared the events of the day or the week. Either way, in person or over the telephone, as we spoke we could easily tell by their tone of voice if they were happy, sad, mad or hurt. And in any situation, most times nothing was lost in translation; it was actually abundantly clear.

The digital age has created efficiencies and offers us access to information at our fingertips, and that is awesome. Unfortunately, it has also delivered that unintended consequence of relying upon and teaching us to communicate through an electronic platform instead of person-to-person.

Texts and emails have their place and do save us time. They are great for sending quick messages or requests or getting family updates in times of urgent and important matters. Using emoticons to send a quick “heart” or “flower” or happy face to a friend or loved one is great as an addition to showing our love, but it should never be used to replace that interpersonal connection and a live voice-to-voice or person-to-person conversation. Just imagine how wonderful you feel when you get that emoticon happy face or quick “I love you” or “just thinking about you” text. Now I ask you to think about and remember how much better it feels to actually receive a call from that same person who says, “Hey, I am running into a meeting, but before I do I just wanted you to know how much you mean to me and that I was thinking about you today.” Nothing lost in translation there.

So how about you? Have you gotten into the habit of just relying on texts and emails to communicate or do you make it a point to have that personal interaction? Either way I would love to hear all about your story at [email protected]. And when we can talk instead of text, it really will be a better than good day.

Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.



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