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Is Technology Holding You Back?

Is Technology Holding You Back?

Tania Khadder | ManagerLink

June 02, 2010

Technology is a beautiful thing. Most of us can’t imagine doing our jobs without it.

But sometimes, overindulging in email, texts, and social networking might actually hinder your performance.

We’ve identified five ways your iPhone, BlackBerry, Facebook and that endless information superhighway are actually making you worse at your job.

Instant message is twisting your words (and making you lazy)

Remember when email revolutionized business communication? All of a sudden, memos were obsolete, no one knew where the fax machine was anymore (or how to use it), and conference calls were set up only on an as-needed basis. Office workers everywhere rejoiced in their new-found efficiency.

But the email revolution was just the tip of the iceberg. In the past few years, instant messaging has become an acceptable intra-office communication tool and, in many ways, we should be grateful for its emergence. It’s faster, less formal, and more interactive than email and yet it lacks the commitment face-to-face or over-the-phone interaction demands. The perfect formula, right? Wrong.

There are just too many misunderstandings when body language, vocal intonation, and facial expressions are left out of a conversation. Plus, how many times has a chat about something work-related degenerated into an all-out gossip marathon.

When all you have to do is share a link or ask a quick question, by all means, send an IM. For most everything else, though, it’s a no-no. Get off your lazy butt and start talking to each other.

You’re afraid of the telephone

The phone rings and you panic. Before you pick it up, you want to know who it is, why they’re calling, and what they want from you. You hate being put on the spot. Caller ID gives away nothing, so you let it go to voicemail.

Diagnosis? Phonephobia (it really is a thing!) — and you’re not alone. These days, a lot of us feel more comfortable communicating through email, IM, Twitter, text, carrier pigeon … anything but the telephone. We avoid it at all costs, but then waste time playing phone tag. Or worse — forget to return the call!

You may not have to use it all the time, but shying away from the telephone when you do need it isn’t helping anyone — least of all you. Having a good phone manner can even give you a competitive advantage if you’re hoping to work your way up in the company. The higher up you get, the more time you’ll probably spend on the telephone. So you might want to get used to using it.

If you’re terrified of the office silence and/or your judgmental coworkers, sneak into a conference room. At the very least, practice with friends. Next time you’re tempted to send a text, make a call instead! It sounds weird and old-fashioned, but being comfortable (or awkward) on the phone really is just a matter of practice (or lack thereof).

Burned Out? →