We do not often think about the forms of communication or the impact they might have on our conversations. Different forms may help us understand or relay a message more clearly. There are many forms of communication throughout the world, but two that we use on an almost daily basis which includes face to face and digital interactions. Face to face interactions are needed to develop trust with another individual and should be the preferred form of communication.
During face to face contact, we can exchange our thoughts and views freely with little distraction while maintaining a connection.
We can make direct contact with the individual with whom we are speaking. Each individual faces one another or is within close enough proximity in order to make eye contact. Eye contact may not be constant, but it is consistently given every few words. We can then read each others next actions based on the words being conveyed in the conversation. There is a subconscious connection that is established during face to face contact that keeps our attention focused on the other individual.
Regardless of the few distractions and activities we may be doing during a conversation with someone, we continue to maintain consistent contact and can carry on a steady conversation. Whereas, during digital conversations we may be distracted easily enough to end a conversation. Although we can see the individual with whom we are speaking through a screen-to-screen interaction on a digital device, eye contact is difficult to maintain. Even though the same environmental distractions may be present as in face to face conversations, the digital platform an individual is using presents added interruptions.
We may receive a phone call, a text message, or a notification that we cannot resist answering, and we may place the first person on hold or end the call altogether. Through face to face conversing there are no delays, and we can receive responses to questions or comments immediately. As for digital conversing, regardless of the device, there may be lags or delays in the internet and poor screen quality that interrupts a persons ability to finish a conversation.
Through face to face conversations, we are also able to build trust because we can read the other persons body language and emotions. Establishing trust and a rapport with someone is an important part of communication and can easily be broken if we are unable to feel the emotions coming from the other person. During digital conversations, be it through text, phone call, or video interaction, we cannot understand the way someone is feeling. Nor can we see the reactions of the person as we are speaking. Digital conversations have a habit of being cold and disconnected when pertaining to feelings or emotions. The conversation can feel monotonous and continue to run without any expression. It is hard to build trust if we cannot see or feel the emotion of someone when we are speaking. For example, a text that reads yay is not felt. There are many emotions that can be affiliated with the word yay. The emotion can be enthusiasm because the person is excited, or it can be sarcasm because the person is annoyed. Regardless of the text that came before the word yay, we do not know the emotion that is associated with the word yay because we are not in direct contact with the other person. Without being able to see the person face to face, we cannot hear or feel the true emotion that is coming from the yay. Through face to face conversations we are capable of picking up on the non-verbal cues and body language necessary to interpret the expression yay. When using a digital device, one cannot pick up on the necessary cues of the other person needed for certain conversations. Therefore, words, phrases, and conversations can be taken completely out of context and lead to a misunderstanding that could jeopardize a relationship.
Communication is key to the development of relationships. In order to establish a fundamental relationship, we must be willing to interact face to face. Digital devices are a great tool to compensate communication when necessary, but devises should not be the only way we have our conversations. Although there are many similarities and differences, face to face conversations still tend to be more acceptable over digital conversations.