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Is Face-to-Face Conversation a Lost Art?

It is so easy to communicate how we are feeling about an issue through text, email and even social media, right?  I mean the person on the other end has to read every word we say and will totally get its meaning and context, right? It will improve our relationships because of the clarity of our words, right?  WRONG.

In the age of electronic communication, face-to-face conversation has become even more important.  There are just some things that text, email and emoticons cannot replace. Non-verbal gestures are 80% of our communication and those just cannot be replaced with emoticons.  What gets in the way of people having a face-to-face conversation when it is proven to be the most effective means of communication?

1. Listening – Some people do not want to communicate with another face-to-face because they think the other person simply will not listen.  There is probably some truth to this though the speaker likely has some room for improvement as well. The speaker needs to come from a place of compassion rather than ‘attack’ the listener.  Further, the speaker needs to give the listener a chance to absorb the conversation.  Have you ever had someone just chatter on for five minutes straight?  Were you able to digest even 5% of what they said? It is important to give the listener a chance to absorb and respond.

2. Listening – Yes, ‘listening’ is #1 and #2 on the list.  The other part of listening is to truly listen.  If someone is brave enough to approach you, regardless of how effective their approach may be, are you able to listen and respond rather than react or ignore?

3. Takes Too Much Time – It is true that it takes more time to have a face-to-face conversation when compared to a text or email.  However, the time factor usually equals out when a text or an email is taken wrong, not fully read, etc and much follow-up and repair work must be done.  An effective face-to-face conversation simply puts the time on the front-end and generally reduces the follow-up and any damage control needed later.

4. Fear – This is probably the #1 reason people don’t communicate face-to-face more often.  They fear speaking up or fear what the other person may do or say. Many important issues go left unresolved because of fear and this keeps authentic relationships from developing and deepening.

What face-to-face conversations might you be avoiding because of some of the above or other factors?  How might you make the time to improve and deepen your relationships through a face-to-face conversation?

“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.” 

– Anne Morrow Lindbergh,  Gift From the Sea