In this fast paced world, I often stop and look around and it seems that today, more and more people; men, women and children are glued to some form of technical device. Whether it is a laptop, mobile phone or tablet, technology is everywhere and it has influenced many aspects of our lives.
In this blog post,Garry Suddaby, Training Manager Mercury Security & Facilities Management’s Training Manager, Garry Suddaby, discusses the changing face of communication in society today due to technological advances.
In this fast paced world, I often stop and look around and it seems that today, more and more people; men, women and children are glued to some form of technical device. Whether it is a laptop, mobile phone or tablet, technology is everywhere and it has influenced many areas of our lives.
There are, of course, many benefits to these developments in technology from ordering our shopping online or booking a holiday at the touch of a button. In the world of work, the development of laptops, email and email aps connected to smart phones, offer a level of flexibility and mean that we are able to work from remote locations. This technology also allows information to be accessed and shared more easily. While these devices and technological advancements offer many benefits, I often wonder at what cost?
I sometimes feel that we have lost the ability to communicate in a real and meaningful way. I think back to a few years ago when I was in Africa in another job. My colleagues and I spent 5 weeks in the savannahs with only one small generator for our power. There were no phones, networks, Wi-Fi or internet access of any form. For the first few days, it was incredibly difficult for many of us to go cold turkey without technology. Prior to this situation, we actually knew very little about each other and this remained the case while we sat in the airport on our phones and tablets.
However, this changed when we arrived in Africa and through the absence of technology, we had little option but to actually talk to one another. When the work was done each evening, we sat and communicated face-to-face; no screens, just good old-fashioned chatting. Through this we shared stories, learned and formed meaningful relationships that would be remembered forever. Had we had our devices to entertain us, we would likely have missed that personal touch which was key in forming our friendships. I then wonder if we are missing out on many opportunities like this where there is potential to engage in meaningful conversations and truly connect with one another. As well as forming friendships, these personal, face-to-face conversations can help establish solid business relationships.
With face-to-face communication at the core of my role as Training Manager, I find this method of communication very effective. I find there is less chance of misinterpretation as the course attendees can see my body language and sense the tone of the message I am communicating. It also creates the opportunity to ask questions for further clarification and receive an immediate response, which helps ensure that the class is engaging and informative for all attendees.
I do, however, understand the advantages which come from using technological advances for communication. For example, the amazing capability to instantly connect with others from across the world through apps, such as Messenger and WhatsApp, allows us to maintain friendships with those we don’t get to see as often as we would like. From a business perspective, these tools can also be used for holding virtual meetings and video conferences. They can also be quite useful for communication with staff from other offices.
Although, the addictive nature of technology, particularly social media, may become an issue in the future, if it hasn’t already. The ‘Put it down’ campaign by former Facebook and Google staff urges young people to quite literally put down their devices and reduce the amount of time spent using them. I think many of us could do with having a break from technology every so often and spending this time connecting with those around us. Who knows what we might learn from each another!
What are your thoughts? Do you prefer the old-fashioned verbal approach or do you think technology has revolutionised communication for the better?