Grow in High-Touch and High-Tech Communication Skills

(This post is part of our 2014 Resolve to Evolve program.)

Getting better at high-tech communication and high-touch communication requires growth.

First, you need to identify where you most need to improve. Is it easy for you to send a text or connect with someone via Twitter, but difficult (or even scary) to schedule a coffee or lunch meeting?

Or maybe you’re just the opposite and you’re not sure whether you’re tweeting or texting or just making a grocery list.

Where do you need to grow?

If you’re looking to get better at face-to-face communication, blogger Ryan Jenkins has some tips:

1. Be prepared. Face-to-face communication deserves forethought. Every communication (whether offline or online) has a purpose. Spend time before the face-to-face communication to gather your thoughts, establish the purpose and the desired outcome. I’d recommend using the application, Evernote, to capture any necessary information before, during and after the communication. If you use your smartphone to take notes, inform the individual so that they don’t mistake you for rudely texting during the conversation.

2. Be present. Face-to-face communication deserves full attention. Much like when we drive a car, if we allow our mobile devices to distract us, the likelihood of veering off course increases dramatically. Stay focused. Effective preparedness and intentional note taking will help you stay on track. Establish strong eye contact. Resist the urge to multi-task. Schedule your face-to-face communications and be sure to get caught up on your email, texts, and social media updates to ensure you’re clear minded. Silence your phone (because whoever actually turns off their phone?) and do not check your phone unless you are expecting an urgent message at which point communicate the urgent need up front before conversing.

3. Be consistent. Face-to-face communication deserves the real you. Social media has allowed individuals to create online personal brands that allow others to gain context around who you are as a person. Many people will search you online to then size you up offline. Make sure your online brand or presence communicates who you truly are. If there is a discrepancy, the face-to-face communication could be clouded with doubt and superficiality and all connection will be lost.

If it’s high tech where you’re feeling a little lost, here are three tips to help you begin improving your digital communications:

  1. Find out how your colleagues and clients prefer to be reached. Email, phone, text, social channels? If you use the method others prefer, you’re more likely to reach them and get a response.
  2. Manage your channels. Never check your voicemail? Mention that in your greeting and then tell callers the best way to reach you. Slow on email responses? Consider an auto responder letting contacts know you got their message and that you’ll respond within a set amount of time and offer an alternate communication method for urgent matters.
  3. Delete channels you never use. No one said you have to use Twitter. If you have an account, but never check it, you could be missing out on crucial connections and conversations. Better to delete the account than have people talking to you in a void.
Johanna Price

Johanna Price is a writer and editor living in the Twin Cities. Follow her on Twitter @johannaprice.

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