Step Away from the Computer and Give Me Some Face-Time!
December 21, 2010 1 Comment
What do we sacrifice at the altar of efficiency with our “lean communication techniques” such as email?
A study at the University of Illinois “put more than 200 undergraduate students through two hypothetical teamwork exercises, some face to face and others through e-mail and videoconferences. Face-to-face contact yielded the most trust and cooperation while e-mail netted the least, with videoconferences somewhere in between.”
In a nutshell, the results indicate that people have more confidence that others will do what they say they will do when discussions occur face-to-face vs. email. That lack of confidence affects work production.
“If I’m not confident other people will do their share of the work, I’m less likely to do my share because I don’t want to be taken advantage of,” U of I business professor, Gregory Northcraft said. “If everyone takes that attitude, nothing gets done.”
So what can we do?
Balance the time efficiency of emails with the relationship efficiency of face-to-face conversation.
Put in some face-time to recharge trust in the relationship. If distance precludes in-person meetings, use Skype, videoconferences, telephone calls (no face time, but vocal cues and the immediate back and forth are more personal than email) and consider adding your photo to emails to at least make them feel more personal.
Step away from the computer and give me some face-time!