Each method we use to communicate has its own ups and downs, its own source of comfort or anxiety.
When we communicate in person, we have a wealth of information to take in. We can see the person’s body language, hear the tone of their voice, feel the energy or vibe. Sometimes that volume of information can be overwhelming and lead to shyness or stage fright. Sometimes it is adds depth of understanding and leads to a more productive conversation.
When we talk over the phone, we aren’t able to see the person’s body language, but we can still hear the tone. We can prepare notes and scripts we can read from if we are nervous. We can check for understanding in real time. Straightforward conversations can be had efficiently. But sometimes it is hard to understand what the other person is saying. There might be those awkward and unintentional interruptions as both people try to speak at once, not realizing that the other person was also about to say something.
When we converse online – through social media, email, and the like – we lose a huge amount of information because we can’t see the other person’s body language or hear their tone of voice. This can make the conversation difficult and easy to misinterpret. On the other hand, we have the advantage of being able to carefully compose and edit what send it. We can usually review the exchange at a later date. We can make it available to many people at once.
Each kind communication format has its pros and cons. Which one – in person, over the phone, or online – will work best for your next exchange?