In an age where the business landscape is being shaped more and more by technology, it is not surprising that less and less of the business practices are done in person and we are losing basic interpersonal skills. The real dilemma comes into play when we need to leave our cubicles, trade a monitor for real-life interactions and truly see what our degrees have taught us about professionalism.
Emails have revolutionized how we communicate in the business environment. With business operations running 24 hours and seven days a week in the global environment, emails are convenient and cost effective. However, if one does not understand the limitations that come with communicating in the written word, all hope is lost on becoming successful in one’s chosen field.
Email communication is limited in context. Face-to-face interactions have the ability to convey irony and sarcasm. Emails do not. Even with the most emphatic use of capital letters and exclamation points, the comedic timing of a joke can be misconstrued as being demanding and rude to the reader of the email. When using email, it is important to keep the reader’s interpretation of the message in mind.
With the importance of emails, texts, and voice-mails in today’s professional world, whether one was a good English/Language Arts students will be painfully evident. One’s ability to communicate effectively and efficiently will ultimately be the true path to success. Having a wide and comprehensive understanding of words and language is more important than having the latest laptop or greatest diploma in economics. No amount of technology or training can make up for poor verbal skills and poor writing habits.
The advantages of technology in the workplace has broaden our scope of capabilities as mere humans. The use of cell phones has made it possible to connect personally, basically, with almost anyone in the world in real time. This advantage can be for better or worse. It is true that cellphone use is universally accepted; however, the amount of time and the timing of the use is becoming problematic.
Inappropriate and inconsiderate cellphone use is rude, unprofessional and sometimes deadly. Cellphones are the new addiction. Before answering a call or text, one needs to be aware of his/her surroundings and whether it is appropriate and a convenient time to answer or if it can wait. Not everyone in a meeting needs to hear one’s blood test results and that unknown call coming in while driving can wait until one can pullover or get home.
With all of today’s distractions, it is not surprising that no one can remain focused and actively listen when actual people are talking. There are emails, texts and phone calls that all need to be answered. In the face of all that is professional, there is nothing more important than the person standing in front of you. One needs to disengage from all the trappings of technology and remember a simpler time when people would actually talk face-to-face. As we move further and further in to the age of globalization and technology, some good old fashion professionalism can be the deciding factor on whether one has a future in those advancements.