"I don't need anything but my smart phone. It is my office in my bag." Really? As I heard a client mouth the words I wanted to protest - so I did, kindly, with compassion for the device-addicted, and a defender of person-to-person communication.
Yes, smart phones have the immediacy of lightning. "They keep you connected." True, it is equally true that your office is never closed - NEVER.
And what are you missing while you are glued to this clever device? A LOT! Especially when it comes to communicating an idea.
You cannot read body language, or feel the sub-text of a message when it is only words on a screen. There is no vocal inflection to indicate the emotion behind the words, and unless you are using Skype, there is no facial expression to react to. Frequently that leads to misunderstandings.
Ever received an email that made you hopping mad, until you understood "what was really meant?"
You may have structured an argument for something that you fretted over, researched, perfected... and you got a one-word reply! We all communicate differently based on our personality temperament. The receiver may have thought the "one word" he or she used, covered everything in your email. You don't think so.
Taking a break during meetings rarely means "network" or exchange ideas, anymore. Instantly the Blackberry's, and I Phones appear. Check messages, send a text, but keep your eyes down. For the shy person - the smart phone is a dream come true, offering sanctioned behavior that wards off interaction with others.
Looking at words and symbols on a screen robs you of the opportunity to totally put the message in context. If you cannot see or hear other people, if you are not "experiencing" the situation, you could miss the whole intent of the message.
Face to face Communication Verses the Smart Phone:
· Pros: Communicate more effectively with co-workers - face-to-face communication adds a contextual understanding. You hear tone of voice, read the body language and facial expressions.
Most of all it allows you to develop an open "dialogue" on which to build ideas, thoughts, and strengthen trust. (The other person cannot delete you before you are finished making your point!)
· Cons: Communicating face-to-face can make you shy, less able to organize your thoughts or arguments, and can cost you time
· Pros: Delivers your message in an instant, and saves time, reduces conversation that takes you off message.
· Cons: Leaves a lot of room for interpretation, or "misinterpretation." Gives the other person no immediate way to "dialogue" with you. No way to really interpret the meaning because you cannot read body language, hear tone of voice, or see facial expressions.
Solution: A Blend Of Both Forms Of Communication
Smart phones are smart, but you are smarter. Take control of your communication. You can exchange details in an email - or through your smart phone. But for your "ideas" sake, get everyone involved in the same room, at the same time, with smart phones switched OFF.
Face to face interaction spurs creativity and opens the flow of information to grow a little idea - into "the next big thing." Growing an idea is rarely a solo journey, a little help from colleagues takes the idea from a thought to a realistic possibility in a much shorter period of time, and one thought - always leads to another.
Where, and when the meeting will take place - can be communicated by your smart phones.