As you’ve followed us through our blog series on communications, perhaps you’ve had mixed feelings about the impact of our digital tools and all of the changes that they’ve created. We’ve explored in detail how our communications tools are leading the entire culture to adapt our language and how we convey and receive information. As we’ve done so, we’ve seen that:
- Technology has fundamentally changed how we communicate, making us not only able to communicate faster and more cost-effectively with a different style, but also giving us access to more information and greater choices in how we connect with others.
- Today’s digital productivity tools can help us work more efficiently with colleagues inside and outside the office, improving team collaboration.
- Our etiquette around communicating has evolved to such a degree that we need to know how to distinguish between what we say (and don’t say) when we’re on email versus texting, instant messaging, or using social media.
- Context matters when determining whether we should use proper grammar, capitalization, and punctuation as opposed to Internet slang or shorthand.
- Social media and slang terms actually may be contributing to a more rapid evolution of our language, allowing us to make our points faster with fewer words while drawing from a wider, ever-expanding vocabulary list of innovative options.
- Communications protocols represent the technical side of our multiple devices’ ability to communicate with each other, allowing us to be networked and perpetually looped in.
Change in any form is rarely easy—and when it involves a shift in our entire way of working and talking to each other, it’s clear why people often resist it. It’s tempting to look backward, imagining that things were better in the “good old days” when face-to-face communication was the undisputed king when it came to information exchange.
But when we look again at the list above of exactly what some of these changes have led to, there’s no doubt that many benefits are infused within the challenges. Whether you examine what’s happening from a technical view or a linguistic one, shifting your perspective and approach alongside the new tech tools is the next step necessary to stay relevant in business.
Instead of glancing backward, ask yourself what you can do to keep up with this brave new world that revolves in many ways around new media and emerging forms of electronic communication. Get up to speed on the productivity advances that our new digital tools have to offer. Learn everything you can about the technologies that can help you master this new information age, from cloud storage to collaboration solutions. In short, when you devote yourself to understanding the change that’s happening all around you, then you become a meaningful part of the evolution.