Earlier this week I met with an energetic and personable lady who spends most of her time developing relationships for her organization. Given her passion and enthusiasm, I have no doubt she creates a lot of value for her employer.
During our conversation she said, as a society, we are losing our people skills. A reason for this, she suggested, is that email and voice mail are making it easier to communicate without talking to people directly.
Think about how many contacts you make in a typical day that do NOT involve direct conversation with someone. Clearly email and voice mail have helped us become much more productive this way.
But, have we gained in quantity and lost in quality?
My first impression is no, I have not lost my people skills, but maybe other people have. When I think about it a little longer though, I have to admit, I could do a better job on the phone and in person. And, I probably use email and voice mail in cases where direct contact might be more effective.
Related to this is the idea that our younger, more technologically immersed generation is at greater risk of losing (or not developing) “people skills”.
What do you think? Has the spread of technology affected your interpersonal skills (or the skills of those around you)? Does our increasing reliance on technology portend a deterioration of our ability to communicate with each other?
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.