Behind The Screens: Why Face Time Matters

Posted on August 8, 2017 by Lexi Tucker - Also by this author

Millennials have grown up with the ability to communicate with friends and family at the tips of their fingers. Social media has allowed them to get to know their closest friends and associates on a deeper level than ever before. They carry their smartphones with them wherever they go because it’s how they stay connected to the world.

Unfortunately, this has become somewhat of a hindrance when transitioning into the working world. Being a Millennial, I can say I definitely email my coworkers more than I actually get up and talk to them. Some call it being lazy; I just think it’s faster. However, I won’t deny the people I work with are genuinely kind and helpful, so they haven’t scared me off from wanting to speak to them in person…yet.

The bottom line is, when you have to get a point across quickly, there’s no doubt texting or emailing are the best tools available to get the job done. But when serious conversations need to be had, there’s nothing quite like having a face-to-face discussion with a coworker or boss…and Millennials might need some help in understanding why.

Crystal Clear Communication

Results from a recent experiment reported in the Harvard Business Review and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology showed face-to-face interactions were 34 times more likely to garner positive responses than emails. But why is that?

Nonverbal clues, such as body language, facial expressions, and posture, can have a large effect on how information is perceived. Also, some people may have difficulty distinguishing the tone an email is written in, and therefore misinterpret how something is being said.

Millennials are so used to the ease of text and email they might need to be reminded why physical interaction is vital to their professional life. It might be wise to underscore in a direct, positive way that if either of you want to discuss something important without any misunderstandings, you should talk in person instead of emailing back and forth.

Take Away

Managers, be patient and understanding with Millennials; Millennials, realize actual conversation is important to function properly in a professional setting.

Suggestions For Success

The key is to not come off like you’re lecturing young professionals as if they were children. While you might view the situation as such, it won’t help in building a solid working relationship with them. You have just as much of an interest in helping them succeed as they have in succeeding themselves.

Set an example for them. Instead of shooting them an email asking them to take care of something, stop by their desk in the morning to greet them and then discuss what needs to be done. Tell them they can come speak to you if they have any questions. Make this face time easier for them by being approachable and kind.

Millennials, make sure you take time to observe and understand the best way to carry yourself if you sit in on meetings. During the early stages of working at a company, listen more than you speak. Don’t bring up things that don’t have any bearing on the conversation or will make you sound immature.

Managers, if you see a younger coworker commit a faux pas, make them aware of it in such a way that won’t embarrass them. Tell them you’re sincerely interested in helping them succeed and adapt to the working environment. Work together as a team; don’t constantly act in such a way that reminds them they are your subordinate.

Take Away

Managers, treat Millennials like equals, not like children; Millennials, respect your managers for the time and wisdom they give you.

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