Face-toFace Communication in the Age of Technology

Face to Face Communication in the Age of Technology

I was interested to read in the Philadelphia Inquirer recently, about the new president of Jefferson Medical School. He sounds like a creative guy who is willing to have people break out of their ruts and think of some new ways to deliver healthcare.

As a champion of open communication and communication across lines, I was interested in his order, that when face to face contact is possible interoffice e-mails are forbidden.

Now I am not sure how you enforce that, I assume peer pressure, but I like the idea of it. There is no substitute for face to face interaction and it concerns me that so many of us rely on e-mail as the main way that we interact with each other.

My office is downstairs, my wife’s is upstairs, we e-mail each other about things. Now we do have plenty of face time and it is convenient to write her something rather than forgetting to tell her, but if I were to tell her in person then I would be able to gauge how what I am saying is being received.

When all we do is e-mail, who knows how our communication is really coming across? I am sure this is what Dr. Klasko realizes. He also knows that if we meet face- to-face we might also talk about other things, and who knows where that might lead.

In this day of virtual workers, virtual teams, etc. might we also be in danger of having virtual communication? - Communication that gets part of the job done, but not the whole thing.

As I say in my new book it is a reality that global companies will not be able to have face to face meetings all the time. If, however, you really want an effective team to exist worldwide, you will have to incur the cost to periodically have all of the team members in the same place at the same time. At least this way all of the team members will know what they really look like and how they act in person. The rest of the time I can then fill in the blanks for what the phone alone or e-mail communication leaves out.

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