Busy professionals communicate well via email. True or false? When is it better to break away from the keyboard for a face-to-face meeting?
Communicating on Many Levels
Anthropologists tell us that humans communicate on many levels. Words. Tone of voice. Facial expressions. All of these help us to express ourselves. And all of these are lost when we use email. Emoticons are an attempt to overcome the shortcomings of email.
Yes, email is fast and efficient. But it’s not always effective. Sometimes we need to tear ourselves away from the keyboard and talk to each other. When we talk to each other directly, we are more likely to prevent misunderstandings before they occur.
(Yes, this is one of those blog posts where the author is talking to himself.)
William Ury is a co-founder of the Harvard Negotiation project and a 30-year student of human interaction. He’s also co-author of Getting to Yes, a great book on negotiation and conflict resolution.
Ury shares some of ways that people resolve differences in this 18-minute video.
A few observations from the video:
- Once we’re in the middle of a conflict, human nature drives us to win. Nothing else matters, especially if it involves listing to the other party.
- Physically walking together, side by side, can help with conflict resolution.
- The “balcony technique” can be used to dissolve (or at least mitigate) conflict before it happens… before we stop listening.
Plenty to ponder here.