3 Reasons Why Millennials Are Missing Out on The Most Crucial Facet Of Communication
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Technology and the Internet have seismically shifted our social landscape- more specifically how we communicate with one another. The changes are ubiquitous. We message instead of calling like to show engagement, share to express what is on our mind, tweet to give our opinions, snap to show our faces and well- you get the picture. Not only this- even when we are rarely together, our eyes remain pinned to our phones.
It is only natural then that with this ease of communication, people feel needless to interact with others on a face-to-face basis. In fact, according to a Cancer Research UK the survey, those aged 18 to 24 are around 20 times more likely to never speak to their neighbours than those aged 55 and over.
But of course, this lack of interaction triggers social isolation amongst most young individuals and eventually also becomes debilitating in many ways. With regards to communication skills, here we look at why our new generation of savvy technology Millennials are missing out on three crucial features.
Interpreting Intentions & the Ability To Influence Others
Stefan Hoffman, says “We are evolutionarily programmed to be with somebody in real life. Physical proximity is directly related to connectedness, to how you actually feel with somebody. A person’s smell, eye contact, little facial cues that suggest emotionality, a person’s oddities, all of that. You can never recreate it in an electronic form.” Not only this- inconspicuous elements such as where people’s feet are pointing; where their hands are rested on their body; and even by the direction where their eyes are darting can also signal so many crucial messages. And because 93% of how we communicate with one another is derived through our non-verbal communication, when humans do not interact face-to-face, they inevitably lose out on determining what a person’s true intentions are. In fact, there is a term in the field of body language known as congruence- where you are able to ascertain someone’s intentions by observing how their verbal message matches their body language. The reality is- when you are able to pick up on these non-verbal cues, you are also more able to influence the other person through tapering your own body language and conversational ability.
The Art of Authentic Conversations
Once upon a time- before phones or email existed- we could not edit our conversations in real-time, nor could we sprinkle in a number of emojis despite how we were really feeling. But now, even for the most mundane of conversations, the younger generation has ample time to think things over before a clever reply. This negates any form of an authentic connection taking place as the truth is, a sense of vulnerability is key to any long-term sustainable relationship. This is because along with vulnerability comes raw and real emotion- which can only really be experienced face-to-face. What is even more compelling is that as more and more transactions take place online, products and services are also slowly losing their sense of character. And at the end of the day, people buy based upon emotion and logic. For this reason, focusing only on product features evades a chance to gain trust. So in terms of business transactions, an investment in getting to know each other’s client’s business and personal situations helps build better long-term trust and relationships.
Tapping Into Crowd Wisdom
Unlike online interactions, face-to-face communication fosters profound learning. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that, I learn from him." (Solid advice from a stellar thinker.) The reality is, everybody has something to teach us despite how much we think we might know. So, in order to truly learn from one another, we must learn how to actively listen to others; engage and ask interesting questions; show curiosity and demonstrate appreciation for others’ experiences. Not much of this can be done effectively over messaging, emailing or through scheduling in a voice call. Even better, millennials joining a new organisation can benefit in training procedures through learning-by-doing interactive activities, in which they get involved in the process as opposed to just being observers. This fosters a stronger and more dynamic learning process, which is key to retaining this younger and savvy generation of technology-savvy employees.