Communication in a Digital Age: A Quick Guide for Old Timers

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 4, 2019 | Go to article overview

Communication in a Digital Age: A Quick Guide for Old Timers


In a land very long ago, we communicated without the internet. Even longer ago, we communicated without phones, faxes and had to speak face to face or put pen to paper, writing a letter (usually in cursive).

If you were an aristocrat, you could have your courier or homing pigeon send a message to your intended audience. Today, we have all sorts of choices in communication: phone, email, text, Facebook, LinkedIn and video conferencing to name just a few.

I can't tell you how many times that I speak with someone my age (let's just say over 40) who says, "I don't do social media" or "I don't think we need a website or Facebook page.," Ok, I guess, but you're missing the boat on some great communication opportunities.

Just like fashion, communication has evolved. If you're still fuzzy on how to communicate digitally, take a look at some facts: Millennials (born 1981-1996) have overtaken Baby Boomers as America's largest generation, with a predicted 81 million millennials in 2036, according to Pew Research Center. As millennials dominate the workforce, we need to have a communication makeover. Regardless of when you were born, we have to adapt to digital age communication preferences in order to remain relevant.

We're seeing the increase of less formal, more engaging communication between co-workers with platforms like Workplace by Facebook, Slack or Yammer. These apps are changing the way organizations communicate internally for several reasons:

* Instant messaging apps support quick communication and enables associates to reach out to each other without having the other's contact information.

* These apps help us stay connected at the office or on the go with mobile devices.

* They enable companywide communication, by department, focus group or specific interest groups.

* Businesses can manage activity, monitor workplace activity and maximize performance.

If you are a born after 1981 this is probably old news. If you are born before 1981 the new tools and technology can be terrifying. Here are some suggestions and tips to help you manage your effective digital communication makeover:

* 24/7 Communication: Smartphones have made around the clock communication a reality and in sales, the early bird gets the proverbial worm. Nontraditional work schedules are becoming more common in business.

* Use Phone Calls Sparingly: Cell phones aren't used for phone calls anymore ... much like sending a telegram after the introduction of the telephone. The biggest reason has to do with time and efficiency. Making a phone call interrupts one's day and is more time consuming than other forms of written communication. Landline phone usage will likely dwindle down and rarely used in years to come.

* Instant Gratification: We are at a turning point where consumers are demanding goods, services and information delivered anytime, anywhere. …

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