Miscommunication Multiplied: The Communication Technology Gap at Work

Communication and TechnologyMiscommunication multiplied. That seemed to be the bottom-line challenge in an informal survey I did last month to gather some preliminary information on  attitudes and challenges relating to communication at work, specifically those challenges related to technology and generational differences.  

A few comments from respondents:

35 year olds like electronic communication. 45 yr olds like to pick up the phone.”

“I’ve had countless times when a 5-minute conversation accomplishes more than half a dozen emails.”

“I wish people would still use the old fashioned phone to call someone when they have an urgent problem or request instead of trying to send an e-mail or text message.”

“My work team could greatly benefit from more personal communication on a regular basis. There is too much reliance on text-based communication.”

I think prevalence of text based communication creates a CYA, finger pointing atmosphere when something goes wrong. The problem is amplified since people don’t get to know each other much beyond the keyboard.”

“I think technology has helped us communicate with one another and communicate with more people in a week then we ever were able to communicate to 15 years ago. Technology has been a positive development. “

“People don’t always take the time, when writing, to make sure communications convey their intent, or even a complete thought. People “think/perceive” something different than is intended, but don’t ask for clarification. Or if they do ask for clarification and (depending on writing skills) are misunderstood or perceived to be confrontational.”

“We lower the standard by trading speed for accuracy.”

“We have become an increasingly shorthand society for communication.” 

“They (Gen Y) are capable of multi-tasking and are more familiar with today’s technology than Baby-Boomers who might get frustrated easily with today’s technology. Neither one is better than the other, it’s just that we need to learn to live with each other’s talent and appreciate them for what they are worth.”

Read the complete survey and responses here.

Note: the word cloud at the top of the post was created using wordle.net and contains the 50 most common descriptive words used in comments by respondents.

What is your experience with communication and technology?  Is there a communication technology gap where you work?


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

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