Communication is one of the most vital components of working with others. Without communication, we can not be on the same team as others or work towards the same goals. It’s a highly important part not only of work but of expressing concerns and sharing our thoughts with other employees.
This infographic from Maryville University highlights some of the reasons communication between generations may have some difficulties. Knowing that problems may occur is half the battle, but how can you address the problem?
Learn face to face communication
For those who grew up in the “always-on” era of smartphones, cable TV, and the internet, more emphasis may have been placed on learning new technology than learning how to have a face-to-face conversation. If this is you, put down your phone and start practicing how to talk to people in real life. Make small talk in line at the grocery store, and speak with other employees.
For those who didn’t grow up in this era, be gracious to those who have. They may have grown up differently from you, so be patient and encouraging with them.
Become comfortable with technology
If you’re older and grew up in a time where face to face communication or phone calls were highly important, take the time to learn the technology for business communication. This will keep you up-to-date with your coworkers and may even help you become more marketable since you can combine the wisdom of your experience with your technological acumen.
If you’re up-to-date with the latest technology, be kind to those who might need some assistance. They can learn from you, but there are surely things you can learn from them too.
Practice phone manners
While most of us carry phones every day, we don’t use them very often for actually calling anyone. Texting, emailing, and ordering online has taken away the need for most of us to speak over the phone. Communicating on the phone is an important part of many businesses, and even many job interviews are conducted on the phone. So instead of texting or emailing your friends, make a phone call to brush up on your skills.
Keep an open mind
Communication can take so many forms. Changing technology means that business meetings don’t have to occur in person, emails take the place of a printed company memo, and fax machines are almost unheard of. The old way isn’t necessarily bad, and in some cases, they may make more sense. On the other hand, using updated communication tools could be a huge time and money saver for your company.
The point is that we can learn from each other and try different ways of communication that might be outside of our comfort zone so that we can effectively communicate with our team members. By embracing both technology and face-to-face communication, we can make sure that our messages are being heard and be sure that we are all on the same page.