Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, MBA, MASCL

Merriam-Webster defined communication as information transmitted or conveyed.  A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, behavior.  In its plural form it is a system for transmitting or exchanging information.

With social networking being main stream, communication was reduced to posting and responding to statuses on the wall.   Another common means are texting and e-mailing.   Unfortunately the art of face-to-face communication is not commonly used by the younger generation.  My nieces and nephews are constantly on their cell phones texting.  You rarely see them use the phone to talk to someone unless it is their parents.  I often wonder how the future generation can interact and communicate in the workplace.    These are words that I see them using LOL, OMG, LMK, CYA, but they are not common words used in business presentation and discussion.

Even at work, there are times when you ask people to give someone a call, they will send e-mail instead.  It is not uncommon to hear people say he/she never responded to my e-mails.   In such a situation, I would ask them to pick up the phone and call or walk over to the person’s office or cubicle and ask the question.  Also, there are times that you’ll see an e-mail chain of more than six responses back and forth without gaining any clarity of what the e-mail is all about.  I often ask people to stop the e-mail chain and pick up the phone or set up a meeting.   E-mail is becoming a de facto standard of communication.    The challenge with e-mail, like any written form of communication, is that is subjective.  Therefore people can misinterpret it.   It often causes more confusion because you’re missing the body language.

The advancement of technology enabled us to be connected 24/7.  However, it did not improve the way we interact with one another.   Things like text messaging do not help our leaders of tomorrow practice the art of communication.    As parents, mentors and coaches, we need to emphasize the important of face-to-face communication and help them understand the value of human interaction beyond the virtual world; otherwise they won’t be effective as future leaders.

In 20 years, the world will be different than it is today, but I believe that the art of communication or the foundation of it will still be the same.  Therefore, we need to do our part in making sure that our future leaders understand its value and essence as it relates to their success in their future endeavors.