The real effects of modern technology on face-to-face meetings reflect on our communication

The very first major issue with virtual communication is that it’s really tough to keep in mind anything we hear this way without that 2nd stream of info our subconscious mind continuously feeds us regarding intent, but also emotion. A lot of that comes through body language; however, most of that gets lost over the phone, and so instantaneously that it suggests that our minds are not entirely involved, we’re unable to review the emotional subtext effectively, and therefore we also cannot remember much of what we hear.

The second major issue is associated with the first one. Our attention span is getting shorter, it might be as brief as 10 minutes these days. It’s hard to break the habit, but most commonly that habit dictates that meetings are generally set up in hour-long sections ¾ some even much longer. It’s no wonder that meetings, specifically digital ones, are overtaking our focus spans.

The third major issue is that you do not have the social hints that suggest when your audience is puzzled, shed, interested or tired. Unless someone specifically mentions it, you will most likely be totally unaware of any of that as not many nonverbal cues will be evident during virtual meetings. In a face-to-face meeting, a good meeting chairperson will regularly sense the atmosphere in the room, recognize the subtle signs given off by other participants, and respond accordingly. However, recognizing and correctly identifying these signals can be very difficult in a virtual meeting which can lead to uncomfortable situations.


That leads us in the fourth major issue which comes directly from misconceptions that are conveniently created when social signs are missing. We have all been there and at least once experienced the mess that a single misunderstood email can cause. You wrote something and had nothing but good intentions; however, a person on the other side had somehow misinterpreted the tone of your email. The same scenario can take place in an audio conference. For example, does the lack of feedback on what you’ve just said mean everyone’s in a rapt arrangement, or that maybe everybody’s zoned out? Are people muting themselves during the call so they wouldn’t distract you or so that they can focus on something else?

And the last major issue (but not the least) that comes with virtual meetings is that the bonding that normally occurs when people interact face-to-face and also dimension each other up, discover mutual fields of interest, and sometimes even fall for each other is very hard to achieve without face-to-face interaction. Therefore, it could ultimately result in a lack of dedication and trust.

How does technology affect communication skills

Several studies have been performed concerning modern technology’s result on social interaction as well as face to deal with interaction given that the increase of cell phone and also social media sites use in the late 2000s. As Przybylski and also Weinstein of the College of Essex created in 2012, “Current developments in interaction innovation have actually allowed billions of people to connect more conveniently with people great distances away, yet little has been learnt about just how the regular existence of these tools in social setups affects face-to-face interactions”


One research took a look at the connection between the visibility of mobile devices as well as the high quality of real-life, in-person social communications. In a naturalistic field experiment, scientists discovered that discussions that lacked the mobile device interaction were ranked as dramatically premium compared to those in the presence of a mobile device (Misra, Cheng, Genevie, & Yuan, 2014). People who had discussions in the absence of smartphones reported higher levels of understanding issue, while those conversing in the visibility of a smartphone reported reduced levels of compassion.


In one more research, Przybylski and Weinstein (2012) revealed comparable results that proved the presence of mobile communication devices in social setups interferes with human relationships. In two separate experiments, the authors discovered evidence that these tools have adverse results on distance, connection, and also conversation quality. Conversation quality difference is notable the most when individuals are engaging in personally purposeful subjects.


Several other writers have focused especially on technology’s impact on individual connections. In Alone With each other: Why We Anticipate A Lot More from Technology as well as Much less From Each Various Other, Sherry Turkle analyzed the results of modern technology on domestic partnerships. After interviewing more than 300 youths and 150 adults, Turkle discovered that children were often times the ones grumbling about their parents’ obsession with technology. Turkle uncovered that many kids believed their moms and dads paid much less attention to them than to their phones, typically neglecting to interact with them face to face till they had finished reacting to emails.

So, what can you do to break the habits? When possible, try to take a break from virtual communication and dedicate some time to work on your real-life connections. Not every single team meeting has to be done online. Although it may take a bit longer to set up and organize face-to-face meetings, the benefits will outweigh the disadvantages.

By having the entire team in the same place, everyone will be able to express their thoughts and ideas better. The meeting chairperson will be able to read social signals and get a much more accurate feedback. Not only that, people will interact with each other in person and get to know each other better, which down the line will make any future online meetings less awkward.

Developing and communicating ideas efficiently is essential for any business. To make the most out of your in-person meetings, instead of using PowerPoint presentation, try utilizing a whiteboard – the bigger the better. In fact, by using dry erase paint, you can turn the entire wall into a massive whiteboard where everyone can brainstorm and share their concepts. Moreover, this will give everyone a sense of community – something you definitely don’t get during virtual meetings. It’s good to take a moment to remember that hi-tech isn’t always the best solution to every issue; sometimes, low-tech works much better.

There’s no running away from technology and it’s not something you should force, but taking an occasional break from it could certainly benefit both your work and personal relationships.

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