Social media can be a double-edged sword. While it can help a company reach a larger audience, it can also be a hindrance when it comes to preserving some of the more “old-school” communication styles in the office setting.
With email, text, Facebook, Twitter and the dozens of other new social media and communication avenues available today, it can be hard to fit in traditional face-to-face meetings, especially when it comes to the workplace.
Jayne Mattson, senior vice president at Keystone Associates, a career management consulting firm based in Boston, says one of the most effective factors in communicating is body language.
“Without face-to-face communication, there’s very little chance to include body language in a conversation,” she says.
Tone of voice is another aspect missing from email or texting. In-person conversations can greatly reduce miscommunication and confusion.
“Technology certainly enhances aspects of communicating,” Mattson said, “but we are human beings, and there’s something about shaking someone’s hand and talking in person.”
In terms of how to use face-to-face communication in the workplace, Mattson recommends instituting a blend of different communication strategies. At her company, she says, managers are sure to plan in-person meetings for all employees at least once a quarter.
“If you have a conference call one time, next time use Skype,” Mattson said. “Then be sure to fit in a face-to-face meeting, too.”
Making it a priority for managers to encourage in-person communication is also a key, Mattson says.
Open communication amongst employees and managers will foster an environment where there is no fear of retribution for telling the truth.
When it comes to the job search, going further than just depending on social media and email technology can make a candidate stand out from the rest. Mattson recommends always sending a handwritten thank you note after an interview. She reasons that holding an actual handwritten piece of paper can signal to the employer the candidate’s interest.
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