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December 8, 2009

I recently attended a conference and had an interesting conversation with my fellow communicators at the breakfast table on the evolution of our profession.  Communication has become vastly different even in the last five years, and I’m not sure it’s for the best.

Yes, we have more outlets in order to get our messages out, but the use of technology has made our communications short, choppy, reduced to 140 characters or less, and created a whole new language of abbreviations (OMG, LOL, SYS).

If you thought trying to understand some e-mail messages or the tone coming across in an e-mail was difficult before, look at the messages you now receive from BlackBerries.  It’s kind of sad when you think about how beautiful the English language used to be – think Shakespeare compared to text messages.  Think about handwritten notes on personalized stationery compared to the vibration and constant buzzing of the BlackBerry. 

I know that change and evolution are unavoidable, but I think it’s important to at least keep a few tips in mind when communicating in today’s world, especially in a work environment:

  1.  Keep it professional – When communicating with your boss or clients, use outlets that they are comfortable with and avoid becoming too casual.
  2. Pick up the phone – When you have a response that requires more than a yes or a no, make the phone call. Don’t try to make the person on the other end translate your message.
  3. Think about tone – Responding via BlackBerry can come across as cold and short when that might not be the case – think about how the person on the other end could interpret your message.
  4. Don’t become obsessed – If you are at a lunch or in a meeting, avoid checking your BlackBerry every time it vibrates, unless it is a dire emergency.  You are not the president of the United States – I’m sure it can wait.  
  5. Vary your communication – While using a BlackBerry might be the easiest for you, it’s nice to actually speak face-to-face on occasion. 

How do you feel about the evolution of communication?  What tools do you use most often to communicate?

Watch this segment/experiment that the Today Show did on our dependence on technology to communicate. Click on the image to view the video.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Ann permalink
    December 14, 2009 7:46 pm

    Great points, Christa. I especially agree about just picking up the phone… saves so much time when something needs to be clarified!

  2. Kay permalink
    December 10, 2009 7:20 pm

    That was a great blog and I enjoyed the experiment on the Today Show, and I’m forwarding it to my school email and pass it on to some staff and students.

  3. Sissie permalink
    December 10, 2009 6:23 pm

    Great article! You expressed my feelings about the latest technology and how to handle the appropriate etiquette when using this new world communication media. Thought you hit it right on the head! Won’t send you an LOL or OMG for the time being.


  4. Lisa permalink
    December 10, 2009 11:29 am

    Well put, Christa! I completely agree.

  5. Melissa permalink
    December 8, 2009 4:29 pm

    Great observation about loss of the beauty of the English language

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