OUR THOUGHTS ON:

Saving Face: The Lost Art of Human Interaction

Technology

By Michael Scalamogna

I think we can all agree that young people do things a little differently. This statement will probably hold true for years to come, too. As a 20-something, I’d be lying if I told you I’m not addicted to my iPhone and that I don’t sit in front of my computer all day firing emails across the WWW. My social circle relies heavily on electronic communication, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I can’t remember the last time I picked up the phone rather than sending a text to make plans.

The epidemic extends into the professional world, too.  In the last month, I’ve logged in to more virtual meetings than I’ve seen clients’ offices. I have multiple screen-sharing and remote access applications on my computer. A lot of folks out there will tell you this is the direction the world is heading, that our ability to connect at a moment’s notice makes us more productive.

On one hand I agree, but on the other hand I think the more connected we become the farther apart we get. Here are a couple of things young folks ought to keep in mind before hitting “send”:

  • You might have graduated magna cum laude and have a laundry list of professional certifications on your Linkedin profile, but this will only get you so far. How are we to build credibility and trust with our managers and clients from behind a laptop? Last time I checked, you can’t download a good reputation.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. Your parents dragged you to the dentist all through your childhood for good reason. Your bosses and clients want to see that beautiful smile. From a project management perspective, nothing is more important to a client than physically seeing someone working on the project for which they are paying your employer. In terms of your own managers, it’s comforting to physically see someone working. It’s also a lot easier for managers to interact with their team if they’re all in the same physical location.
  • Build confidence. You’re not going to be CEO one day if you can’t talk to people. Practice makes perfect. Emailing and other electronic forms of communication prevent us from getting in front of executives and getting accustomed to interacting with important people. The folks you want impress can sense when you’re nervous.
  • There's no “I” in team. Collaborative efforts work best in the absence of electronic communication. There are multiple apps out there to facilitate collaboration, delegate project tasks and share documents, but when the actual work happens, nothing beats human interaction – be it phone call or face-to-face meeting.

So here’s my challenge to you: ditch the technology. Get up and walk into your manager’s office. If you use the term “client” in your job, make a habit of spending time face-to-face with them. Pick up the phone and call your clients instead of emailing them. Telecommute less. Trust me, your efforts won’t go unnoticed.

© 2014 Schneider Downs. All rights-reserved. All content on this site is property of Schneider Downs unless otherwise noted and should not be used without written permission.

This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax related matter.

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The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at contactSD@schneiderdowns.com.

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

© 2018 Schneider Downs. All rights-reserved. All content on this site is property of Schneider Downs unless otherwise noted and should not be used without written permission.

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